Friday, September 30, 2011

Bombe Habba - Dussera / Navaratri

It is festivities time!

With Navaratri, begins the display of traditional toys (bombe habba in Kannada). This is a practice among many families in South India. In Tamil Nadu it is called Bommai Kolu/Golu and Kolu Bommai in Andhra Pradesh.

The dolls are displayed on a tiered stand usually covered with a white cloth. There is no hard and fast rule for the arrangement of dolls. However, some begin the display with the 'pattada bombe'. These are traditional wooden toys artistically decorated, symbolic of a royal couple. Pattada Bombe are displayed as a mark of respect to the royal family of Mysore, as they initiated the Dussera celebrations on a grand scale in Karnataka during the Wadiyar rule.

At home, we set up the bombe stand and displayed the Pattada Bombe along with ambal/devi kalasha (a practice in Tamil Nandu), as we follow the culture of both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (my husband is from TN). That apart, my daughter arranged traditional toys made of clay and wood, collected over the years.

My Bombes

As always, food is an integral part of celebrations. This Dussera, my family helped me with traditional sweets and savories. My mother made the savory 'shankar poli'. These are also called diamond cuts, shankarpali in Maharashtra and shakarpara in North India. These are deep fried sweet and salty diamond-shaped snacks. Yumm!

Shankar Poli

My grandmother and aunt made a sweet called 7-Cups. This is a burfi-type sweet made of seven different ingredients. Absolutely delicious! And my mother-in-law made aravane payasam, a traditional payasa/kheer native to Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

7 Cups

After all the sweet, it was time for some kharad usli (spicy kabuli chana snack) made by yours truly. It turned out pretty good (even though I say so myself) as I followed my father's recipe. He is a fantastic cook by the way!


Happy Dussera, Happy Holidays!


  1. Looks delicious! Your daughter is looking just adorable! Can't wait to have potluck at your place in November!

  2. Thanks Rads!

    Oh...I thought we were meeting in Oct!

  3. I am so happy that you are walking that extra mile to keep our tradition intact! It is incredible!!
    I loved your usli!I guess I ate such a delicious usli after a long long time.Way to go chikku....

  4. Thanks Geethi :) glad you guys came over!