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  • Sharad Navratri 2017 will be observed in India from September 21 to September 29, 2017 in India as per Hindu Calendar. Chaitra Navratri 2018 is from March 18 to March 25 as per latest information. The nine-day festival in Hinduism is dedicated to the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga. In 2018 the Mother Goddess festival will begin on October 10. The most important nine day festival is Sharad Navratras which begins on the first day of the bright half of Ashvin or Ashwayuja (September-October) as per traditional Hindu lunar calendar.

    Apart from the Navratri in September – October, there are three other Navratras in a year. The most important among the three is the festival observed in March-April especially in North India. This is also known as Vasant or Ram Navaratri as it coincides with the Ram Navami festival.

    Thus there are four important Navratris in a year in a traditional Hindu lunar calendar.

    2017 Navratri September - October dates Day 1 – September 21, 2017 – Ghatsthapana - Navratri Begins – Chandra Darshan Day 2 – September 22 – Sindoor Tritiya Day 3 – September 23 – Varad Vinayak Chaturthi Day 4 – September 24 – Upang Lalita Vrat - Lalitha Panchami Day 5 – September 25 Day 6 – September 26 Day 7 – September 27 – Saraswati Awahan - Maha Lakshmi Puja (western parts of India) Day 8 – September 28 – Mahashtami - Annapoorna Parikrama – Saraswathi Puja (western parts of India) Day 9 – September 29, 2017 - Mahanavami - Mahanavami fasting Saraswati Visarjan or Saraswathi Balidan The tenth day is celebrated as Dasara or Vijaya Dashami. (September 30, 2017) Vidyarambham in Kerala is on September 30, 2017 South India In South India, Goddess Durga is worshipped during the first three days. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped during the next three days Goddess Saraswathi is worshipped during the last three days.
  • Onam, which breaks all barriers of caste, creed and religion, is the most anticipated festival in Kerala and by Malayalis around the world. Thiruonam is the day when the Asura King Mahabali (Maveli) comes to visit his subjects. Each house in Kerala decks up to welcome King Maveli, who during his reign made the ideas of a utopian rule a reality. In 2015, the date of Onam is August 28. Onam is celebrated over four days – first Onam or Onnam Onam is on August 26. Second Onam or the most important day of Onam is Thiruonam and it is on August 28. Third Onam or Munnam Onam is on August 29. Fourth Onam or Naalam Onam is on August 30.

    The preparation for Onam begins on the Atham nakshatram day in the Malayalam Chingam month (August – September). Atham falls around 10 days before Thiruonam. Onam festival begins on Atham day, around 10 days before Thiruonam. People begin purchases for the onam which include new dresses for all the people in the family. During these ten days children and women prepare the floral design called Pookkalam in front of their houses to welcome King Maveli. Today there are Pookalam competions organized by various organizations. Another major preparation is for the grand onam feast - Onam Sadya.

    On the Tiruvonam day members of the family gather together, usually at the ancestral home, for Onasadya (traditional Onam feast) served on plantain leaves. The significance of the Ona Sadya is established from the popular Malayalam saying “kanam vittum onam unnanam” - Onam feast should be prepared even if one has to sell all the seedlings that are kept to sow for next harvest. Onam is traditionally a harvest festival and earlier the people of Kerala used to entirely depend on agriculture.

    After the Onasadya, women and children engage in folk games, songs and dances like Oonjalattom (soaring high on the swing), Thumbithullal - a traditional folk dance, Kaikottikkali or Thiruvathirakali.

    Onam is also time for snake boat races (Vallam Kali) and there are numerous competitions including the famous Aranmula Vallam Kali. Apart from this there are other traditional rural arts and games like Pulikali, Kummati kali, Ona Thallu etc take place during the period.

    Malayalis are today spread around the world and Onam transports each Malayali to his/her home in Kerala. Each malayali has sweet memories associated with Onam and it is dusted out and remembered with a smile.

  • Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with a belief that Lord Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati, bestows His blessings on His devotees, on this day. It is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the God of wisdom. Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the fourth day of the Hindu month of Bhadrapada, which falls around August or September.

    The preparation starts one month in advance, with great enthusiasm, to celebrate this auspicious occasion. The festival starts with the installation of beautifully sculpted Ganesha idols in homes and mandaps. These idols are decorated beautifully and show religious themes.

    The occasion becomes very lively and enthusiastic with the devotional songs, dances and drum beats being a part of the procession observed by the devotees of Lord Ganesha, as a part of the festivities. Ganesh Chaturthi is the only festival that involves and welcomes the participation of general public.The occasion also sees various cultural events being held every where, in which people participate with interest. After celebration, the time of farewell comes and the idol of the beloved God is immersed in water. The celebration ends with the immersion, accompanied by loud shouts of 'Ganapati Bappa Moraya'.