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Home > Discover Coimbatore > City Lifestyle > RANGOLI

Rangoli or Kolam as it is popularly called here in Tamilnadu, is one of the city's best surviving links with a treasured cultural heritage. Rangoli is a Hindu folk art; more precisely a floor art. It traces it obscure origins to the Puranas (Works on Hindu Mythology). Simply put, Rangoli means a row of colours. The tradition of Rangoli originated in Maharastra and slowly disseminated to other parts of India.

Rangoli consists of geometrical and symmetrical shapes and designs. The most preferred motifs are those inspired by nature. Birds, animals, flowers, gods and goddesses. Rangoli designs are usually plain, though on festive occasions it is also coloured. For a long time natural dyes were used as colouring agents, later these were replaced with chemical dyes. Rangoli is usually drawn with chalk and dry rice powder, although most often a fine gravel powder is used as a cheap and easy substitute for the rice powder.

Rangoli is not confined to homes in Tamilnadu anymore. Almost all inaugural functions use this floor art as a welcome message.Wedding halls are decorated with these intricate designs that are sometimes adorned with flowers.

Rangoli as an art, is in tune with the times. With marbles, mosaics, granite slabs and ceramic tiles replacing mud floors, innovative and easy ways of drawing Rangoli have come in. Hollow tin and wooden rollers are stuffed with powder and dragged across the floor. Waterproof Rangoli stickers are available in the market, which can adhere to smooth surfaces. Today, even a novice can decorate the floor with Rangoli. Probably next in line might be computer-simulated designs. For those willing to learn Rangoli there are a lot of books in the market for this purpose.

Today, Rangoli also makes a fashion statement. Intricate Rangoli patterns are extensively used in desigining ethnic dresses and ethnic ware. The ceramic industry also utilises these designs for their tiles.

But what makes Rangoli survive through the ages? Perhaps it is the universal appeal of this folk art. Rangoli cuts across social barriers and as an art that adapts itself easily to changing times. It is this flexibility in expression, which makes it a blend of the tradition and the modern.

Facts About Rangoli
Drawing intricate Rangoli designs helps improve mathematical reasoning.
Saivaites and Vaishnavites have different border designs. Saivaites prefer the horizontal lines, while Vaishnavites have a combination of horizontal lines with curves in between.
Rice powder was traditionally used for Rangoli to prevent ants from entering the house.
A mixture of cow dung and water was splashed on the mud floor before drawing Rangoli. This acted as an insecticide and also helped prevent dust from getting blown into the house.
Special Rangolis are drawn on important occasions- Navagraha Kolam, Hridaya Kamal, Aishwarya Kolam. Special lamps are used for Diwali (Festival of Lights) and the Sun Chariot for Pongal (Harvest Festival).
Tamilians have an exclusive month for this art. Yes! The Marghazi (December and January) is dedicated to this art.
Rangoli for a long time was a popular medium for preserving social memory.

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