Colorful Art of Rangoli

India has a large variety of images. Being an Indian, whenever I visualize India- my beloved country- I can think of dancing crops, crowded skylines, people, streets of life, a symphony of sitar ,santoor,tanpura,tabla and flute, delicious plate of wholesome food ,festivals and a beautiful combination of colours, which includes the artistic ‘ Rangoli’!

Rangoli is a Floor Art. It is also called an ‘Ephemeral Art ‘. Rangoli is an art of making art work on the floor or ground, with the help of hands, fingers ,to be more precise, coloured powder( usually coloured sand) or rice paste or flowers- either whole or petals of flowers. A chalk is also used,at times ,to draw the outline of a picture.

The word ‘ Rangoli ‘ has been derived from the words – Rang + Vali , ‘Rang’ means ‘ Colours ‘ and ‘ Vali ‘ means ‘ A line or row . So,it literally means, ‘ Rangoli ‘ – ‘ A row or line of colours.

Rangoli is a traditional art form , which has existed , for hundreds of years, in India. It is known by different names in different parts and languages of India. In Hindi Language and Maharashtra, Rangoli is known as ‘ Rangoli ‘, in Karnataka as ‘Rangavali ‘, in Kerala as ‘ Pookalam ‘,in Tamil Nadu as ‘ Kolam ‘ in Telugu language as ‘ Muggulu ‘ etc.

In the earlier days ,in Maharashtra, Rangoli used to be with Rangoli powder, the Pookalams of Kerala are florals artworks ( especially during the Onam festival), Kolams of Tamil Nadu are made using a rice paste. Even combination Rangolis are made. During festivals like Diwali , diyas are lit and placed on the Rangolis.

Traditionally,women of the household drew Rangolis ,early in the morning, near the entrance of the house, or in the verandah of the house. During festivals like Dasera, Diwali, bigger Rangolis are also drawn. Even for religious occasions like Pooja, or other auspicious occasions like Marriage , Rangolis grace the occasion.

Nature’s symbols like peacock, othersother birds and animals, planets, trees, leaves,fruits,flowers, religious symbols like ‘Om’ , geometric shapes and patterns,gods like Shri Ganesh, Lord Krishna are also depicted through Rangoli.

In the modern era, Rangoli is encouraged in schools,colleges, corporates, residence communities , through competitions, or simply having them in social events’ venue. Men ,who are interested, also draw this Art. There are many professional Rangoli artists ,too. Many tools like toothpick,comb,strainer,stencils , lids etc.are also used for bigger Rangolis. A group of people also come together,to make Rangolis.

A beautiful part of this art is that, it is a perishable, ephemeral art. It is not long lasting ,but, at least nowadays, Rangolis can be recorded in the form of photos and videos. In it’s momentary existence , it gives joy to it’s creators and onlookers. It erases gradually ,over a period of time ,or even immediately,if someone, accidentally steps on it! Nevertheless, it is a sense of serenity and harmony for the soul ,mind and heart! How beautifully, the hands and it’s fingers move, in order to complete the design ! The combination of colours is a visual treat, too. Every Rangoli is unique ,with a message of it’s own! Even human beings,famous personalities are depicted through Rangoli. Another different aspect of this art is that it is an Art, which is practised regularly , traditionally by many families for many generations , every person adding her own personal touch to the creation.

So let’s celebrate the colours of life with ‘ Rangoli ‘!

  • ©️ Rupali Gore Lale
  • July 1,2020

Picture Source- Pinterest

Colorful Art of Rangoli

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