PGH - Navratri Golu

The southern states of India typically celebrate the festival Navratri with the traditional “golu” – this is the display of dolls, figurines and ensembles in several tiers or “padis”.

The southern states of India typically celebrate the festival Navratri with the traditional “golu” – this is the display of dolls, figurines and ensembles in several tiers or “padis”. It is also customary for women to create thematic landscapes or installations: for instance, a garden, a forest or a market place. Volunteer Sheela, from Navi Mumbai, shares her experience of the golu this year:

Sheela Iyer

As I was decorating our golu padis with my mother this Navratri, my mind wandered to the original purpose of golu padis, its relevance today, whether it’s has become a blind tradition…. I thought of the conventional return gifts that we, as women, exchange when we visit each others’ homes: a tiny comb, a mirror, a couple of betel leaves, coconut and nowadays, plastic containers or dabbas, if we’re a bit more fancy. Perhaps these were the immediate needs of a woman then?

Then I thought of the initiatives by Sadhguru and volunteering. And I zeroed down on Project Green Hands (PGH) and its enormous work. What could an urbanite do for this project, I wondered? What could I do, sitting at my home in Mumbai? Then I saw a poster for the “World Environment Day” campaign. I knew instantly how we could be a part of that initiative. I also knew what would be the best return gift for all the ladies who came to our place to view the golu padis – I was going to give them each a PGH sapling.

A brief discussion with the PGH resource person Archana enthused me so much, that I sat down to list all those people whom I must thank for whatever they have contributed in my life. The first list was ready in 10 minutes! My two nieces (just one-year-old) received the sapling with a note saying “You now have a sibling in the form of this cute, tiny sapling. With love from your athai (aunt).” I felt thrilled at having written this, especially when Archana akka told me she would be actually sending a certificate in the name of the recipient, telling us where our sapling is being planted and the name of the farmer who is growing it for us! This is like being a parent and taking responsibility, despite the distance.

The thought didn’t stop there… I went on to actually create a small miniature forest along with the golu padis, displaying the growing of trees as an immediate and tangible solution to this seemingly eternal problem of drying river beds, parched earth, soil erosion, decreasing green cover and increasingly hotter summers and untimely rain. I collected images from the Internet and set out to make a collage displaying these glaring problems. And as for solutions, why invent the wheel again? Give Isha!

Then I put together a series of other reasons:


  • A small amount of Rs 50/-per sapling would make us contribute to the lives of the farmers – to whom we also owe a great deal, as they are the ones who toil so hard to bring food to our tables.
  • Why should we think small and only do things for our immediate community or area we live in? Why should we not own up accountability for things beyond our sight?
  • Why can’t an anonymous act of generosity be experienced by the receiver?
  • Why can’t we gift something like a tree, educate others about the joy and necessity of such an act, as well as do our duty towards Mother Earth?

I bow down to Sadhguru for having initiated me and for inspiring me.

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6 years 11 months ago

Way to go Sheela! Inspired by your pragmatism.

6 years 11 months ago


6 years 11 months ago

Great work akka...I bow down for ur outstanding effort

6 years 11 months ago

hey, its lovely sheela, i am touched by ur gesture.truely inspiring

6 years 11 months ago

from the very ancient time one curse is coming on . even gods and devatas 's souls were also affected by the curse of evil thoughts of KAMA (sex) and KAM(sex) .

when any god or anyone would had created male and female ,some god would had invented the sex and thoughts of sex (kam) for the birth for childrens .at those times it may be the requirement for the birth of childrens . but after words became curse . and was misused and was used as a tool for the destructions .

if there would had been no evil thoughts of sex(kama ) which causes insult and hates . never no one would had been insulted and evil thoughts was the main cause of every quarrel, every insult and every destructions .

if at those ancients times some wise ,noble peoples , god would had thought of evil effects and would had taken wise decissions for the betterment for others , no ramayana, no mahabhartha , no war ,no fight ,no quarrels , in puranic (ancients) times and now nothing would had/have not taken place .and many and many peoples would had not become the victims .

every one was not born with the nature's good grace of good qualities and the good fate and luck to have good inteligence , good wisdom , good qualities , and circuimstances not to commiting ever any mistakes or sins . the peoples , gods , devtas , souls , which were doing bad ,wrong things and cruelities were also victim of bad fate and bad qualities , bad wisdim ( बुदधि ) .

never anyone suffer from the evil thoughts of KAMA and KAM and evil wisdom , evil thoughts be change into good and noble of every soul ,every molecules of souls ,where ever it may be ,even in any atom under earth or any part of earth , universe, any kind of hell. . each and every molecule which are taken from humans , souls and be the humans again on the earth as were naturally origanaly . every human , soul, molecule get the good wisedom ,good intelegence not to commeiting any sin , not doing wrong bad, not doing anything which cause insult to anyone which makes anyone angry , there be no bad words, no bad thoughts, no hates , no sins, no vengeances, no quarrels , no life lose. be respect for every one in every soul, human, kundalini , every molecule .there be no any soul, molecule, creatuers, with any kind of suffering , pain , punishment , or any torturings in any kind of hell and under earth or any where in universe ..

every human every soul ,every molecule either good or bad , angle or evil , sinner , demon , god or devil every creature , every one want to live as a good humanbeing

6 years 11 months ago

what an innnovative idea.Good work

6 years 11 months ago

you always find ways to express joy... through participating in mumbai marathon for isha vidya or inspiring people to plant trees for isha project green hands .. great work

6 years 11 months ago

I bow down to sadhguru for the great inspiration

6 years 11 months ago

This is really great. It only goes to show how wonderful things arise when inspired.

6 years ago

You're an inspiration Sheela...very good initiative.