Saturday, September 15, 2012


Rangoli also known as kolam is a folk art from India. Rangoli are decorative designs made on the floors of living rooms and courtyards during Hindu festivals. They are meant to be sacred welcoming areas for the Hindu deities. It is customary to draw a kolam or rangoli at the entrance of the house.

The ancient symbols have been passed on through the ages, from each generation to the next, thus keeping both the art form and the tradition alive. The patterns are typically created with materials, including colored rice, dry flour,(colored) sand or even flower petals. Rangoli and similar practices are often followed in different Indian states; in Tamil Nadu, and Kerala it is called as kolam, and in Andhra Pradesh it is known as MUGGU.

The purpose of Rangoli is decoration, and it is thought to bring good luck. Design-depictions may also vary as they reflect traditions, folklore and practices that are unique to each area. It is traditionally done by women, but over the years modern additions have been adapted. Generally, this practice is showcased during occasions such as festivals, auspicious observances, celebrations of marriages and other similar milestones and gatherings.

Rangoli is used as a symbol of religious and cultural beliefs, specifically Hindu. It is considered an important part of the spiritual process; it might be called the purification of the spirit and the prosperity that lies behind such purification. Moreover, it represents a philosophy of life that enthusiastically celebrates the impermanence of knowing and devotes itself to a constant wish to live in the present. The idea that tomorrow will be renewed, which is the purpose of the rangoli, is one of the greatest concerning this symbol. Additional house festivals or family occasions inspire the art of crafting rangoli. Women may make rangoli at the entrance to every room of the house. The hobby itself is a basic symbol of eternal innovative creation, thus symbolic of the spirit. Rangoli created with icons, such as the swastika, lotus flower, and Lakshmiji step etc., are considered indicators of prosperity. Many homes today craft rangoli daily. The art, then, has become a part of the modern family. This decor created for almost all except the few; it is a symbol of human spirit and thus an important means to realize cultural feelings. Rangoli symbolizes joy and happiness.

In olden days, the entrance to the house was usually a mud flooring. So water was sprinkled early in the morning so that the surface will not be eroded by the morning breeze and also to prevent dust from entering the house. Cowdung was mixed with water and sprinkled to act as a disinfectant. The ladies coming out to draw the kolam early in the morning had the benefit of ozone also.

Previously the kolam was drawn only with rice flour. This was done so that crows, squirrels, ants may all eat the rice flour from the kolam. This is supposed to be one of the “ Pancha Maha Yagnas” which form the daily duties of a Hindu & is called “ Bhutha Yagna” which is intended to create in man, the spirit of sharing with all living beings. 

The kolam is a free hand drawing and a traditional form of art. These designs are believed to produce positive cosmic forces which will improve the lot of people who dwell in the house. We can also interpret it in the modern context as a 
sign of welcome to all people who come to the house. They denote a prayer “let there be happiness & cheerfulness when anybody steps into the house.” If there is an artistic design, nobody will dirty the place also! It is supposed to prevent undesirable elements from entering the house. This is specially taken care of by the red “ kaavi” lines drawn around the white kolam. The red kaavi lines are supposed to block the negative energy. Thus the white kolam surrounded by red kaavi lines, separates the auspicious, pure, protected, and safe world of the home from the inauspicious, impure, unprotected, and dangerous world of the outside.

There are intricate kolams which are drawn with many dots. Completing them successfully needs a lot of concentration and patience.This gives a good training to our mind that whatever be the situations in life, we must learn to emerge out of them smoothly and tactfully.

Besides giving aesthetic beauty at the entrance, the kolam also provides a physical exercise for the women, early in the morning. The bending and drawing the kolam gives 
a good exercise to the waist and hips, thereby strengthening them and giving them flexibility.

The kolam is also supposed to honour, Lakshmi Devi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth & prosperity & to invite her blessings into the home. It is the best artistic outlet for a woman to start the day auspiciously.

For important occasions and pujas, it is customary to soak raw rice, grind fine and draw kolam with it. When it becomes dry, it just sparkles invitingly, surrounded by red “ kaavi”.

Posted above is a sample photo of “My Onam kolam “which I drew in frontyard of my house for onam. We keralites will use flowers petals for kolam.But here in vizag it will not be possible so I used colours for rangoli. 

Here I used yellow, blue, pink, red and white.

Yellow is the color of sunshine. It's associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy.

 pure blue is the color of inspiration, sincerity and spirituality.

The color pink represents compassion, nurturing and love. It relates to unconditional love.

Sky Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the color of perfection.

Thus Rangoli art is an adornment or decoration that has different names in different provinces of India and Rangoli are drawn on the doors of homes so that evil forces attempting to enter are repelled. It is our (Hindu) ancient culture and custom to water the front yard of ones house and lay a decorative column as if inviting god to take the first step in to the house.since cleanliness is next to godliness we believe that god enters only those households that are clean from all angles.

1 comment:

  1. Its fun to read.Making Rangoli is our tradition and women make it with love and enthusiasm.These traditions are our true identity.rangoli stencils