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Kolam or Rangolis are an integral party of Indian culture. In Tamil nadu its called 'Kolam', in Kerala its called 'Poovidai or 'Pookalam', which is usually put during Onam season which is done by outlining with rice flour and filling it intricate designs with flowers and leaves. In Andhra Pradesh its called 'Muthu', In Karnataka 'Rangoli', In 'Maharastra', its called 'Ranga valli', in 'Gujarath its called 'Sandhya', in 'Rajasthan', its called 'Manndana', in 'Uttar Pradesh' its called 'Sona Rangana', in 'West Bengal' its called 'Alpana'.
Pulli kolam or Suzhi kolam
The above kolams are simple ones. Yyou also have really elaborate big Suzhi kolams like the ones below. This type of kolams need amazing precision, calculations and ofcourse a steady hand.
Complex Suzhi kolams and Dot kolams
South Indian rangolis
Pookalam is an intricate and colourful arrangement of flowers laid on the floor. Tradition of decorating Pookalam is extremely popular in Kerala and is followed as a ritual in every household during ten-day-long Onam celebrations.
'Pookhalam' consists of two words, 'poov' meaning flower and 'kalam' means colour sketches on the ground. It is considered auspicious to prepare Pookalam, also known as 'Aththa-Poo' during the festival of Onam.
People believe the spirit of their dear King Mahabali visits Kerala at the time of Onam. Besides making several other arrangements, people, especially adolescent girls prepare elaborate Pookalams to welcome their most loved King.
Kilo and kilos of flowers, lot of dedication, creativity, technique and team effort are the basic essential of an eye catching Pookkalam.
Athapoovu are usually circular in shape and multi-tiered colourful arrangements of flowers, petals and leaves. Use of powder colours, desiccated coconut or artificial flowers is prohibited. Pookalams are normally laid on the front court yard of the house. Idols of Mahabali and Vishnu are placed in the center of the Pookalam and worshiped. Diameter of a Pookalam normally ranges from four to five meters.
PookalamRitual of making the flower mats continues for all ten days of Onam. Designing starts from the day of Atham and is made ready by Thiruvonam day. Basic design is prepared on the first day. Size of a Pookalam is increased by adding more to it on every passing day hence a massive Pookalam gets ready for the main day of the occasion. Its a big creative task, as designers have to think of a new design ever day.
Various flowers are used on each day as a specific flower is dedicated to each day of Onam. Commonly used flowers include Thumba (Lucas Aspera), Kakka Poovu, Thechipoovu, Mukkutti (little tree plant), Chemparathy (shoe flower), Aripoo or Konginipoo (Lantana), Hanuman Kireedom (Red pagoda plant) and Chethi (Ixora). Of all these flowers, Thumba flowers are given more importance in Pookalam as they are small in size and glitter in the the soft rays of the sun. 'Thumba Poo' is also considered to be the favourite flower of Lord Shiva and King Mahabali was a devout worshipper of Shiva.
On the next day of Onam, Thumba flowers are used to decorate Onapookalam. The arrangement is not touched for the next 15 days. On the 15 th day, called 'Ayilyam', Pookalam is decorated again. On the next day, called Magam, Pookalam is given a cut in its four corners with a knife. This marks the end of Pookalam decorations for the year. Some also follow the tradition of erecting a small pandal over the completed flower carpet and decorating it with colourful festoons.
Making of Pookalam is itself a colourful and joyous event. Being a team effort it helps to generate feeling of togetherness and goodwill amongst the people. It is animating to watch women as they prepare Pookalam while singing traditional songs. Giggling and sharing jokes between the thought provoking and back breaking job.
PookalamTrends Earlier, people used to make efforts to collect flowers for designing a Pookalam. Children used to get up early in the morning and gather flowers in their small 'Pookuda' (basket) from the village gardens. These days, the trend has changed and people have the option of buying flowers from the market in the shape and colour of their choice.
Pookalam decoration competitions are organised by various societies and groups all over the state on the day of Onam. They have become extremely popular and witness huge public participations. Big prizes are also kept in these contests as they have turned up to be extremely competitive events. A large number of people assemble just to have a look at the innovative and meticulously prepared art pieces.
A beautiful design, though it is said, is created in the heart, use of technology is also in vogue in designing of a Pookalam. People prepare design first on computer and then implement it on floor. This saves a lot of time and energy and helps the designers to come up with stunning Pookalams.
Outside the walls of Rajasthani village homes, the Mandana tradition of painting is practiced by the women of the Meena tribe. Handed down from mother to daughter, this stunning public art is a community tradition, done by women on the mud walls and floors of their homes, keeping time with recurring festivals and the changing seasons.
It can be explained as a form of story telling through illustration.
Kolam plate designsMost of these are to be used only in front of the altar or the puja room because these designs have religious symbols in them which shouldn't be stepped upon. So the ones below too..
These types of kolams are called 'Hrudhyakamalam' and should not be put in the front of the house. Are so are the Swasthikas. 'Swastika' is Lord Ganesh himself so that should not be drawn where people step on it and not many people know about it and so are the simple 'Star kolams'. They are the symbols of Lord Muruga or Lord Shanmukha. The 3rd kolam on the right is okay to draw in the front.
Here is a you tube link to the sacred Chakra kolams which are drawn before big yagnas and poojas like 'Baghavath sevai' , Ganapathi homams' especially in Kerala and Karnataka http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYC0hwVpG2o
The design shown below is known as Alpana in West Bengal. Previously used to be created by rice dust soaked in water but now poster colour are used. Mainly done by the women folk of Bengal, especially during the Lakshmi Pujo (Lokkhi Pujo). The feet in the centre symbolises the Goddess Lakshmi.
The exclusive fair designs in the homes in Bengal & persons haggard in celebrations, pujas, weddings & vrats draw yet an informal spectator. The white designs identified as Alpana are established on the yards, grounds & parapets & on big pots & boats. Rice, the clip foodstuff of Bengal, is the middle worn in Alpana & the designs are produced mostly by women. The method of picture with the white flour is referred as gunrichitra and dhulichitra. The drawings are fairly like to the kolams and rangoli in South India.
The white stick produced from rice emblematically is prosperity, wealth & beauty or deity Lakshmi. The design chiefly consists of plant life, fruits, leaves, twigs, vegetables & other ideas hand over downward during productions & those stirred by Mother personality.
Diwali is the main season for beautiful and colorful rangolis in the Northern India. Rangoli is the art of drawing images and figures on the floor, at the doorstep of one's home. With the beautiful combination of colors, rangoli makes a magnificent piece of art. It has been a tradition in culturally rich India, to draw rangoli on festivals and other auspicious occasions, as it is considered a holy ritual. It makes a part of Diwali celebrations too. The main purpose of making rangoli at the doorstep, on Diwali, is to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.
The art of rangoli is known by different names in different regions of the country. In Maharashtra, it is called 'rangoli', while it is known as 'kolam' in South India and 'alpana' in Bengal. While most of the Rangoli designs are made with the use of dry colors, the patterns can also be done by using the paste of rice grains, turmeric paste, vermilion powder or chalk. So, this Diwali, use the rangoli decoration ideas given below and bring a sense of completion in the joyous celebration of the festival.
The above design is called "Sankar Bharati" rangoli pattern - Decorated with floating candles
Decoration Ideas There are myriad ways to add to the overall appeal of rangoli. The designs of rangoli are created by a combination of different colors. It could be decorated either by colored powders or by colored pastes such as painting colors. You can enhance the beauty of your rangoli pattern by adding some decorative pieces to it, such as the lighted diyas, colorful flower petals and leaves, colored rice grains, colorful pulses, and colored sand. You may place a diya at the center of the rangoli.
Above design is a typical Maharashtrian rangoli pattern
Designs Originated from Maharashtra, the art of rangoli is popular all over the country and therefore, different designs of rangoli have come into existence. The rangoli designs for Diwali have been passed on from one generation to the other, some of them being as old as hundred years. Although the designs vary largely, in different regions of India, the basic approach of the people is common - to please Goddess Lakshmi, so that she enters the home and brings in health, wealth and prosperity. Generally, the rangoli designs are geometrical shapes, proportioned in a balanced way. Geometrical figures such as circles, triangles, squares, ovals and rectangles dominate. Apart from geometrical figures, images of flowers, their petals, trees and creepers are also drawn.
Themes The common rangoli themes are the holy symbols like mangal kalash, leaves of Ashoka tree, Om, Swastik symbol, a lighted Deepak, Shree, lotus and other flowers, creepers, trees, rising sun, moon, stars, chakra, fish, birds, elephants, dancing figures, trident, human figures and geometrical figures such as circles, semi-circles, curves, triangles, squares, ovals and rectangles. The footsteps of Goddess Lakshmi entering into the home are designed at the main entrance of the home or near the place of worship, which indicates the entrance of prosperity in the home. Beautiful and intricate Maharashtrian rangavalli
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