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Rangoli – Beautiful Collage of Colors

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Colors hold an important part in Indian culture. From bright colorful clothes to beautiful and creative paintings, pottery and handicrafts. From mouth watering Indian cuisines to the seasons and festivals, it all reflects the distinctive and rich culture and colorful spirit of the people of India. Style of home decoration is called Rangoli with Vibrant colors. It's an art form practiced by the Indians since ages. Rangoli is basically floor painting using colored sand, flowers, clay lamps or rice. Rangoli can be wall art as well as floor art but generally its done on the floor at the entrance of the house as welcome for the guest. The art form holds great religious significance. It also enhances the beauty of the surroundings and spreads joy and happiness all around. It is made extensively during the Festival of Lights, Diwali to welcome Goddess of Wealth ‘Lakshmi’.It is an expression of hospitality for the guest. The term rangoli is derived from words rang (color) and aavalli ('colored creepers' or 'row of colors').Rangoli resembles the art of Sand Painting. Sand painting is practiced by Native Americans in the Southwestern United States, by Tibetan monks, by Indians, Australian Aborigines, and some are known to be made by Latin Americans on certain Christian holy days

There are many folktales about the origin of the traditional art of rangoli in India. One such story traces its history to a legend recorded in the Chitralakshana, the earliest Indian treatise on painting. Long ago, the son of a renowned king's priest died. Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, requested the king to make a painting of the boy so that he could turn him alive again. This is how the first rangoli was made. Another popular story is that God, in one of his creative episodes, extracted the juice from one of the mango trees as paint, and drew the figure of a woman so beautiful that it put the heavenly maidens to shame.

Traditionally natural dyes like bark of trees, leaves, flower petals and turmeric powder were used to prepare. However, today, synthetic dyes are used in a range of bright colors. The motifs in traditional Rangoli are usually taken from Nature - peacocks, swans, mango, flowers, creepers, etc. The designs are symbolic and common to the entire country, and can include geometrical patterns, with lines, dots, squares, circles, triangles; the swastika, lotus, trident, fish, conch shell, footprints (supposed to be of goddess Lakshmi), creepers, leaves, trees, flowers, animals. As a Rangoli is created through sprinkling powder by hand it is a very laborious and difficult process and requires lot of patience & of course creativity.

Rangoli is known by different names in different parts of the country; Alpana in Bengal, Aripana in Bihar, Madana in Rajasthan, Rangoli in Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra, Chowkpurana in Uttar Pradesh and Kolam in Kerala and Tamilnadu, Muggu in Andhrapradesh.


Sumita said...

Hmmm.... Good one!

Juhi said...

made a lot of rangolis when I was a kid.....wanna start making again....nice post.....its great that u are writing about various things associated with Indian culture....