Mangaluru: Mangaluru Dasara is known for focussing on rituals and traditions. Even amid the pandemic, a family situated here has been practising 95-year-old special rituals in fervour by celebrating ‘Gombe Habba’, a doll festival during Navarathri.
Niddodi Ekanath Nayak’s family has been practising the Gombe Habba for the past 95 years.
Speaking to News Karnataka Eknath said, “Our ancestor Niddodi Babayya Nayak began this tradition in Kochi nearly 95 years ago. In the 1940s he shifted to Mangaluru and continued the tradition. After him, his son Bhajane Vittal Nayak continued the tradition, who also founded Veera Venkatesh Bhajana Mandali, and they used to sing prayers and organise Pooja for 9 days.
After him, I have continued it. We have a collection of clay dolls, which were made nearly 95 years ago. Initially, our ancestors started the tradition by worshipping 4 clay dolls of Hindu Gods, and Goddesses. However, the idols have increased with each generation making their contribution, Eknath informed.
“We place all these dolls inside a Mantapa in our house. Visiting is open to the public. We hold pooja, Bhajana programmes, and aarti, after which we also distribute the prasads to the devotees for 9 days.
“We also follow the tradition of inviting Bhajana Mandalis or classical music troupes performing Bhajans for nine days. Famous celebrities like legendary Hindustani vocalist Bhimsen Joshi, Madhav Gudi and famous classical musicians like Somanath Mardur, and Upendra among others have performed Bhajan nights here. Recently, to encourage new talent we invited young singers from our localities too” he added.