Rangoli is a reflection of vibrant Indian culture. It is a creative art done on the floors of the house or the entrance to welcome the Hindu deity Lakshmi to our homes, since, she represents good fortune.You cannot imagine an Indian festival without a rangoli; it actually sets the mood for celebration and brightens up your home.
Rangoli is created using coloured rice, dry flour, flower petals, turmeric (haldi), Vermillion (Sindoor) and coloured sand. The patterns include the face of Hindu deities, geometric shapes peacock motifs and round floral designs. Many of these motifs are traditional and are handed down by the previous generations. This makes rangolia representation of India’s rich heritage and the fact that it is a land of festivals and colour.
A wedding calls for an elaborate rangoli which occupies a large floor space. This adds the fun factor to all celebrations.India being a diverse country the designs of rangoli varies from one region to another. It’s not strange that each part of the country has its own style and way of doing Rangoli.
It also goes by different names in different states:
- Rajasthan: Mandana is a wall painting from Rajasthan done to protect the home, welcome Gods into the house and mark important festivals. These wall paintings can also be done on the floor of the house. The floor is prepared for mandana using cow dung mixed with rati or a local clay and red ochre. Then lime or chalk powder is used to create the design. The motifs are created using a brush made from date stick, cotton or tuft of hair. The designs for rangoli have peacock and floral motifs. Some even draw face of tigers and Ganesh. Mandana also reflects folk culture of Rajasthan.
- Madhya Pradesh: Chowk purna is traditional design fitted into a square with leaves and flower motifs.
- Orissa: The rangoli design in Orissa is called Ossa. Ossa designs are created to bring in health, wealth, prosperity, harmony and peace into the home. It is a way to welcome goddess Laxmi into the house. Ossa are also done to mark festivals in Orissa like Rath Yatra, Vishwakarma puja, Garbhana Sankranti, Chitalga, Apara Paksha, Basely puja, Laxmi puja and Diwali.
- West Bengal: Rangoli in West Bengal is popularly called Alpana. The intricate designs on the floor reflect the artistic skills of the people of Bengal. The 19th century Bengal Renaissance that made alpana so popular, some however traces the origins of alpana to the pre-Aryan times. The agricultural community in villages drew alpana to ward off evil spirits to ensure safety, express gratitude, to increase fertility of the cultivated land and to bring prosperity to the home. Alpana is also drawn to mark festivals or religious rituals at homes, to welcome guests and also to make the house look beautiful.
- Tamil Nadu: Rangoli designs in Tamil Nadu are called Kolam. These floral designs or Pookalam are created to celebrate the ten day Onam festival. It is believed that the soul of king Mahabali visits the city and he feels delighted to see these floral designs created in his honour at the entrances of all the houses. This is said to bring happiness, wealth and good luck to the homes. Adolescent girls love to create pookalam to welcome their favourite king Mahabali and seek his blessings. Some draw the nakshatra of the day in the pookalam to make it more auspicious, this also adds a touch of uniqueness to the kolam design. Women of the house have to create different kolam designs for the ten days of Onam. Many women gather together to make the pookalam designs, they sing traditional songs or gossip while drawing the designs.
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