Dola means ‘swing’ or ‘cradle’ and utsava means ‘festival.’ Many Hindu Temples especially in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh conduct Dolotsavam or swing festival. The utsava murti of the presiding deity in the shrine is carried on a palanquin or vahana (mount) during Dolotsavam.
Dolotsavam is mainly performed to Radha and Krishna, Sita and Rama, Meenakshi and Sunderaswara and Valli and Subrahmanya.
A series of steps are part of Dolotsavam
- Reception with customary fruits, sweets and milk.
- Offering of betel leaves and nuts.
- Lighting of camphor.
- Singing of matrimonial songs.
- Applying red lac on the sides of the feet of the murtis.
- Singing musical songs.
- Playing with flower balls by the deities.
- Swinging to songs.
- Singing of Lali
- Singing of lullaby
- Calling upon the guardian deities to protect the deities when they are sleeping.
- Waking up the couple.
- Mangalam – happy finale.
At Ahobilam, the ritual is performed in the houses of the devotees. The utsava murti is taken to the home o the devotees for the purpose.
Please note that Dola is performed to the child form of Sri Krishna in various parts of the country.