For Telugus In Silk City, Dusshera Is Bommala Koluvu
Berhampur can be called a mini Andhra Pradesh in Odisha for it is home to the Telugu speaking Kamma community.
Dusshera celebrations here are quite unique and this small community in the Silk City has kept alive the age-old tradition of Bommala Koluvu or decorating the houses with dolls in dazzling lights.
Most of these dolls are of animals, birds and tribal people depicting the rural life of the state. The puja is performed keeping these dolls together with the idols. However, the dolls adorn the houses at least a week before Dusshera.
The Kamma community keeps adding to its collection of dolls year after year. In an effort to be innovative, the community members think of a theme or a concept every year. Swachch Bharat has been one of their current themes.
“Many of us have had to reduce our display of dolls due to shortage of space. Still, we try to put our best foot forward and keep innovating in some way or the other,” said a retired school teacher.
“Bommala Koluvu is a big draw for the children who try to make their own dolls. We have been encouraging them to make environment-friendly dolls. What is more, they look forward to the prasad,” said a member of Arya Vasya Sangam, an organisation of Telugu-speaking people living here.
As per tradition, people visit each other’s house during Koluvu and offer prasad. The guests and hosts chant devotional hymns together. After the puja, the offerings are distributed among the guests. The guests, especially married women also get a parting gift and Kumkum.
The festival is also a way of keeping the modern and uprooted people of the state, especially the youth who have settled abroad, with their culture and tradition.