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This article is about the Indian folk art. For other uses, see Rangoli (disambiguation).
A Rangoli with mixed colors at Tirunelveli , Tamil Nadu

Rangoli, also known as Kolam or Muggu, is a folk art from India in which patterns are created on the floor in living rooms or courtyards using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals. It is usually made during Diwali (Deepawali), Onam, Pongal and other Indian festivals. They are meant to be sacred welcoming areas for the Hindu deities generation to the next, keeping both the art form and the tradition alive. Similar practices are followed in different states of India: Rangoli in Karnataka, Kolam in Tamil Nadu, Mandana in Rajasthan, Chaookpurna in Chhattisgarh, Alpana in West Bengal, Aripana in Bihar, Chowk pujan in Uttar Pradesh, Muggu in Andhra Pradesh, Golam kolam or kalam in Kerala and others except in North eastern states.[1]

The purpose of rangoli is decoration, and it is thought to bring good luck. Design depictions may also vary as they reflect traditions, folklore and practices that are unique to each area. It is traditionally done by women. Generally, this practice is showcased during occasions such as festivals, auspicious observances, marriage celebrations and other similar milestones and gatherings.

Rangoli designs can be simple geometric shapes, deity impressions, or flower and petal shapes (appropriate for the given celebrations), but they can also be very elaborate designs crafted by numerous people. The base material is usually dry or wet powdered rice or dry flour, to which sindoor (vermilion), haldi (turmeric) and other natural colors can be added. Chemical colors are a modern variation. Other materials include colored sand, red brick powder and even flowers and petals, as in the case of flower rangolis.

In different states[edit]

Rangoli art is an adornment or decoration that has different names in different states of India; for example, Rangoli in Karnataka, Chaookpurna in Chhattisgarh, Mandana in Rajasthan, Aripan in Bihar, Alpana in Bengal, Sanskar Bharti in Maharashtra, Kolam in Tamil Nadu, Muggulu in Andhra Pradhesh, Alikhthap in Kumaon, Kalam in Kerala, and Saathiya in Gujarat. Not just in names, the designs also vary as per the region.

In middle India mainly in Chhattisgarh Rangoli is called Chaook and is generally drawn at the entrance of a house or any other building. Dried rice flour or other forms of white dust powder is used for drawing Chaooks. Although there are numerous traditional Chaook patterns, lot more can be created depending on the creativity of the person who draws it. It is considered auspicious as it signifies showering of good luck and prosperity on the house and in the family. It is not drawn like a picture. Patterns are created based on certain systems. Generally women get up early in the morning and clean the area just outside the entrance of their houses with cow dung, sprinkle the area with water and draw the Chaook,In Maharashtra, rangolis are drawn on the doors of homes so that evil forces attempting to enter are repelled. During the festival of Onam in Kerala, flowers are laid down for each of the ten days of the celebration, the design growing larger and more complex every day. In Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradhesh and Karnataka, the Kolam is drawn upon the ground or floor daily. The designs are geometric and symmetrical मूल्यतः shapes but the materials used are similar rangoli: rice flour or slurry is used. In Rajasthan the Mandana are painted on walls. Mmandne, various festivals, major festivals and can be categorized based on seasons. Different shapes depending on the size of it also can be shared. Kumaon's "writing beat 'or in a variety of plotting symbols Thapa, artistic designs, Bellbutoan is used. Alikhthap of society apart - separated by different groups - different icons and art media is used.

Key elements[edit]

Rangoli's most important element is Utswdhermita. For this, auspicious symbols are selected. Thus the symbol for generations as they are made - and is required to make these symbols. Traditionally, each new generation learns the art and thus a family keeps the tradition intact. Some major symbols used in Rangoli are the lotus flower, its leaves, mango, Tue vase, fish, different kind of birds like parrots, swans, peacocks, and human figures and foliage. Oftentimes Rangoli are made on special occasions like Diwali. Some special patterns for Diwali Rangoli are the Diya also called Deep, Ganesha, Lakshmi, flowers or birds of India.

The second key element is using rangoli incoming material. The same material is used which is easily found everywhere. Therefore this art rich - poor is prevalent in all homes. Normally the major ingredients used to make rangoli - Pise rice solution, dried powder made from the leaves color, charcoal, burned soil was, wood sawdust, etc.. Rangoli is the third important element background. Rangoli for the background was clear floor or wall or Llype is used. Rangoli yard in the middle, corners, or as Bell is created around. Dehri gateway on the tradition of making rangoli. God's seat, depending on lamp, place of worship and sacrifice on the altar is the tradition of decorating rangoli. With time, imagination and innovative ideas in Rangoli art is also incorporated. Hospitality and tourism has also had its effect and it has been commercially developed. The colors also convenient because it places such as hotels is being built on its traditional charm, artistry and importance are still remain.

Rangoli is also 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.


There are two primary ways to make a Rangoli, dry and wet, referring to the materials used to create the outline and (if desired) fill that outline with colour. Using a white material like chalk, sand, paint or flour, the artist marks a centre-point on the ground and cardinal points around it, usually in a square, hexagon or circle depending on region and personal preference. Ramifying that initially-simple pattern creates what is often and intricate and beautiful design. Motifs from nature (leaves, petals, feathers) and geometric patterns are common. Less common but by no means rare are representational forms (like a peacock, icon or landscape). "Readymade Rangoli" patterns, often as stencils or stickers, are becoming common, making it easier to create detailed or precise designs.

Once the outline is complete, the artist may choose to illuminate it with colour, again using either wet or dry ingredients like paints, coloured rice-water, gypsum powder, coloured sand or dry pigments. The artist might also choose unprocessed materials like seeds, grains, spices, leaves or flower petals to achieve lifelike hues. Modern materials like crayons, dyes or dyed fabrics, acrylic paints and artificial colouring agents are also becoming common, allowing for brilliant and vibrant colour choices. A newer but less artificial method involves using cement coloured with marble powder. This rather precise method requires training, but beautiful portraits can be drawn in this medium.

Shape, design and material can be influenced by regional traditions. A square grid is common in North India as is a hexagonal grid in South India; Onam Rangolis are typically circular. In North India, the colour is most often based on gypsum (chirodi), in the South India on rice flour and Onam Rangolis are typically flower based. The rapid and widespread migration and mixing of people within India can be seen by the way these styles are now freely adopted and mixed across the country. It is also becoming common to see experimentation like sawdust-based floating Rangolis, freeform designs and exotic materials.

Faith and beliefs[edit]

Rangoli drawn in front of the house as a faith and tradition

In Tamil Nadu there is a prevalent myth, that Andaal worshipped Lord Thirumaal and was married to him in the month of Margazhi. So during this month, unmarried girls get up before dawn and draw a Rangoli to welcome the god Thirumal. Mentions of rangoli creation are also found in Hindu mythology. See also references to Rangoli in legend, such as in the - Ramayana at Sita's wedding pavilion where the discussion refers to rangoli there. Cultural development of Rangoli in the South originated in the era of the Chola Rulers. There are modern and traditional rangoli designs. The designs are usually inspired by nature, but they can also be in the form of abstract art.


  1. ^ "Kolams, chowkpurana, madana, aripana...". publisher=Rediff. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  • Selvamony, Nirmal (2006). "Kalam as Heterotopia". In Muthukumaraswamy, M. D. Folklore as discourse. Chennai, India: National Folklore Support Centre. ISBN 81-901481-6-8. 

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