What is Rangoli? History and Importance of Rangoli

Peacock Rangoli design

Rangoli, which means a row of colors or layer of colors, is a traditional Indian form of art where women decorate the entrance of their houses early in the morning, especially during the Diwali festival. Rangoli designs competition is often held time to time in different regions of India. These designs are created using the thumb and the forefinger. Rangoli is a form of welcoming guests and different deities into the house. As it is said ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’, which simply means that guests are a form of God, so everyone should treat them with hospitality. Rangoli brings joy and happiness to everyone. Rangoli designs often brings out an artist in you. It is also believed that with Rangoli, you are inviting all the gods to visit your home and give the blessings.

Rangoli-A row of colors

What is Rangoli?

The term Rangoli is a Sanskrit origin. In other parts of the world, there are different names for Rangoli. In Tamil Nadu, it is called Kolam, in Bengal, it is called Alpana, in Rajasthan, and it is called Madana, and so on.

History of Rangoli

Rangoli was first made at the time of Chitralakshana. During that period, the son of the King’s highest priest had passed away and Lord Brahma asked him to draw a portrait of the boy, which was an exact replica of the deceased. Life was then breathed into the portrait and the boy was made alive. This was the first time that the Rangoli design was made.

Swastik Rangoli

In the story of Ramayana, the people of Ayodhya painted Rangoli designs to welcome Shree Rama back after fourteen years of migration in the forest. In Mahabharata, this form of art, had been used by the gopis in their free time. It helped them refresh their mind and ease away the pain of separation from Lord Krishna. There are many other legends as well that are associated with Rangoli. Rangoli is made using various materials like rice flour; a flower petal, colored sand, and have been practiced for ages. In the ancient times, natural dyes like indigo, barks of trees, etc. were used to color these designs. Nowadays, synthetic dyes have replaced these natural dyes. Along with the Rangoli, diyas are lit and placed, in order to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity.

Peacock Rangoli design

Rangoli is of any shape and size and a common Rangoli design that you will often see is the feet of Goddess Lakshmi. There are many more designs that are drawn by women like a peacock, many free-form images, flowers; religious icons, etc. The main motive of creating Rangoli designs is that it brings good luck. However, these designs are made with no gaps in between, as it believed that an incomplete Rangoli would attract evil spirits.

Ganpati Rangoli

The most interesting fact about Rangoli is that, it is drawn in two ways: Dry as well as wet. Women and young girls make different Rangoli designs everyday during special occasions, festivals, or maybe a wedding celebration. Some women are so talented that they can make temples, deities, birds, landscapes, etc. so artistically that you would marvel their piece of work. For those who are not so good at drawing, there are ready-made stickers or stencils available in the market, which will help them to draw the designs and fill it with colors later on. It is not very easy to draw a Rangoli, as it needs more creativity and imagination. The design used to make Rangoli includes geometrical patterns, lotus, the swastika, conch shells, trident, footprints, idols, animals and so on. Each state in India has a different way of making Rangoli, based on the artist’s imagination and creativity. An interesting fact is that, Rangoli is being encouraged among young children in many schools by holding competitions, every year, during the festival of lights, Diwali. In a very near future, we shall provide some really good rangoli designs for the inspiration of our Indian readers. Keep following trend in India blog to learn more about the culture and history of India.

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