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Growing up in South India means we have witnessed , white color drawings outside doorstep of most houses . Kolam is this artform , is ancient and dates bates to over 5000 years , it is very simple , elegant and can be quite a great way to start every refreshing morning , to add a bit of celebration into everyday and aesthetically pleasing designs in the entrance of the house .

So , in Southeastern India , generally most hindu household women have a ritual in the early mornings of making this artform , usually in Brahmamuhurta (believed to be the time when Brahma and all other deities descend to the earth) Sometimes before dusk in the evenings , millions of women in the town, villages and the cities of South India and especially Tamilnadu and Pondicherry draw Kolam on the thresholds and floors of houses, temples and businesses.

The word kolam in the Tamil language means form and beauty.

A symbol of auspiciousness and divinity, kolam is made with rice flour, finely ground rice powder /paste (called kola-podi in Tamil ) or at times vegetable and mineral based colored powders on carefully swept grounds and water sprinkled and cleaned grounds .

  • Once the floor or ground is cleaned , women take this kolam powder in a pinching like manner in the tips of their fingers , and start gently drawing the pattern by letting the powder fall in a controlled way to obtain the desired design.
  • Sometimes they make the patterns in lines using straight and curved lines.
  • Sometimes they make it with dots and encircling the dots with curved lines in a continuous pattern way .
  • They have number of dots and lines to every kolam design they are making , it’s quite mathematical considering how they maintain the ratio , proportion and number in consideration while making.
  • The process involves concentration, memory and a series of disciplined hand and body movements.
  • Kolam designs can vary from very simple to complex depending on the events or occasion or season they are making.
  • For special occasions to make the kolam hold longer, the rice flour is made wet by adding water. A small cloth piece folded over (or a paper towel) is dipped into the liquid rice paste and placed between the thumb, the forefinger, and the middle finger and pressed until drops of wet white rice flour pours through the front end of the three fingers. The kolam is created, almost as if the fingers were acting as an ink pen. These semi-permanent kolam are called Makolam . The challenge here is to ensure that the rice flour spreads evenly on the ground in a smooth, continuous, flowing manner so that the shapes appear smooth and evenly drawn.

The rice flour used to draw patter feeds ants, squirrels, and smaller birds such as sparrows, creating a harmonious way of living with nature.

Through the day, the drawings get eaten, walked on, washed out in the rain, or blown around in the wind, and new ones are made the next day.

Interesting kolam news – A woman who lost her memory from ten years regained it practicing kolam , click “kolam ” to check out – kolam.

This is more of Science and Mathematics than art.

Each region has its own distinct version of Kolam or Rangoli.

  • Muggulu (Muggu): Andhra
  • Alpana: Bengal
  • Puvidal: Kerala
  • Chowkpurna: Madhya Pradesh
  • Rangoli: Maharashtra, Karnataka
  • Mandana: Rajasthan
  • Kolam: Tamil Nadu
  • Sanjhi: Uttar Pradesh

Kolam and these rangolis as referred to in different states also have a scoial aspect to them , During the sacred Margazhi month women compete with one another in a spirit of playful competition in the various Kolam contests organized in cities, towns and villages in Tamil Nadu



We might soon have Kolam classes and other rangoli classes be taken in our art school , stay tuned for updates .

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