Rangoli is the popular floor art of
India. It is an auspicious art of decorating courtyards and prayer halls in
India drawn mainly by women and girls. Some women use rice flour to draw a
rangoli which is the traditional medium to be used while others use
sandstone or limestone powder. The designs are then colored with various
colored powdered dyes. Although this floor-art is known as Rangoli commonly
in many parts of India, it is known as Kolam in Tamil Nadu, Muggulu in
Andhra pradesh, Rangavalli in Karnataka, Poovidal or Pookalam in Kerala,
Chowkpurana in Uttar Pradesh, Madana in Rajasthan, Aripana in Bihar and
Alpana in Bengal.
The colorful tradition of rangoli-making dates back to the Indus Valley
Civilization (2500 B.C). Rangolis were often drawn with coarse rice flour
since it served as a food source to nature's little critters like ants and
crows. Rice flour is seen as an offering to Lakshmi, the goddess of rice and
wealth. The goddess has the power to attract prosperity and to prevent
poverty from entering the home. In this site you'll find all kinds of small
and advanced rangoli designs which are made for various occasions.
The Tradition of Rangoli
Rangoli is a Hindu folk art, generally created on a floor on special festive
occasions. The origin of this art can be traced to the Puranas (works on
hindu mythology). Simply put, Rangoli means a row of colors. The tradition
of Rangoli originated in Maharastra and slowly disseminated to other parts
Rangoli, also known as Kolam in South India, Chowkpurana in Northern India,
Madana in Rajasthan, Aripana in Bihar, Alpana in Bengal is the ancient Hindu
religious floor art. According to a legend recorded in Chitra Lakshana, the
earliest treatise on Indian painting, a king and his kingdom were steeped in
sorrow at the death of the high priest's son. Everybody prayed to Lord
Brahma, who moved by the prayers, asked the king to paint a portrait of the
boy on the floor so that he could breathe life into it. And with that the
art of floor painting came to life. And that is how rice, flour and flowers
were transformed into picturesque offerings to God in the form of floor
'Rangoli' is a sanskrit word which means a creative expression of art
through the use of color. In ancient India, rangolis were used to decorate
the entrances of homes, a floor-painting which provided a warm and colorful
welcome to visitors. In Indian cultures, all guests and visitors occupy a
very special place, and a rangoli is an expression of this warm hospitality.
In particular, the Diwali festival is widely celebrated with rangolis, since
at this time, people visit each other's homes to exchange greetings and
In a rangoli, powdered colors are sprinkled on cleaned and dusted floors to
form decorations. Rangolis can be vivid, three-dimensional art complete with
shadings or they can be the traditional plain, yet as beautiful as,
two-dimensional designs. The colored powder is usually applied 'freehand' by
letting it run from the gap formed by pinching the thumb and the forefinger.
In ancient times, rangolis were actually decorations made on the entrances
and walls of houses to brighten up and add color to occasions being
celebrated, like weddings, births and significant religious days. They also
signified a warm welcome for visitors. In fact in Maharashtra, India,
housewives make them each morning. The designs would be simple and
geometrical but could invoke symbolic forms. Oil lamps (diyas) would be
placed in the rangoli to give it yet another dimension.
Thus, reflecting regional beliefs and aesthetics based on a common spiritual
plane the art of floor painting is one which has survived all influences and
retained and transmitted the spirit of Indian life.
Rangoli, also known as Alpana, Kolam and by other names is a traditional art
of decorating courtyards and walls of Indian houses, places of worship and
sometimes eating places as well. The powder of white stone, lime, rice flour
and other paste is used to draw intricate and ritual designs.
Although Rangoli art is Maharashtrian in origin, it has become quite popular
all over the country. Each state of India has its own way of painting
Rangoli. One characteristic of Rangolis is that it is painted by commoners.
On some special occasions like Dipavali it is painted in every home, with or
without formal training in Rangoli art. The art is typically transferred
from generation to generation and from friend to friend.
Traditionally Rangolis are painted or created out of colored sand/rice
powder. A symmetrical pattern or picture of Gods, Goddess, Dancers, Diyas
etc. is drawn and colored rice powder/sand is then layered on top to form a
picture. A symmetrical rangoli pattern can be drawn on paper or card and
then decorated by children with crumpled tissue paper.
Spaces can be created within the rangoli design to place diyas. One can also
use flower petals of different colors such as golden marigolds, bright red
roses to add that extra dimension to the pattern. With a little bit of
imagination, a dash of aesthetic sense and dollops of patience, one can
create a piece of art with colors.
Most of the patterns are circular indicative of the endlessness of time. The
day-to-day Rangoli patterns are simple or intricate. The most common rangoli
designs start with dots which are connected to form lines and other
geometrical shapes such as swastika, aum, stars, squares, circles, triangles
etc. These geometrical patterns must be formed in a continuous, unbroken
Courtesy: Vidhi Nagar