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Rangoli - Indian Art of beautifying the floor

Updated on October 10, 2013

Rangoli is a traditional Indian Art.

The original name of rangoli is Rangavali, which means - ranga means 'color' and avali means 'line' in Sanskrit. So it means 'colorful lines'. But then rangoli is not just the line designs.

Rangoli names in other Indian languages

It is more commonly called Rangoli. It is called Alpana in Bengali, Kolam in Tamil, Aripana in Bihar and Madana in Rajasthan. In Andhra pradesh, it is referred to as moggu and chowka purana in Utter Pradesh.

Most houses in India, especially in the Southern part of India, have a Rangoli in front of their house. It is drawn by the women of the house early in the morning. No festival is complete without the beautiful motif on the floor. What a beautiful way to welcome the visitor.

Almost every house, small or big, rich or poor has a rangoli at the entrance. It may be a small motif, drawn only with a white powder or a chalk, everyone wants to welcome a visitor.

Rangoli is an art where the art, life and god are expressed together.

Diwali - the festival of lights is one favorite time when Rangoli is drawn in almost every house. As a girl, I used to plan days ahead, the motif, the colors. I either got up early to get my rangoli ready or did it on the eve of Diwali.

Even now, I  and my 10 year old daughter make a rangoli and fill it with color. My daughter likes to draw and paint too. She has now a collection of different rangoli patterns.

rangoli with white stone powder
rangoli with white stone powder

What is the material used for rangoli?

Different materials used for rangoli.

Traditionally the rangoli is drawn with white stone powder.

Rice flour, chalk, charcol, colored powders are also used. For wet rangoli, Rice is soaked in water for an hour and then ground to paste. This paste is used to draw lines of the rangoli. This rice flour paste rangoli is mainly used in Southern part of India mainly in Tamilnadu.

Colored powders are available easily in shops to mix in rangoli. These shops do good business before festival time.

You can use your creativity and use any material you think right. Coffee grounds, dried flowers and leaves, rice and other cereals, grains etc. You use what ever is available and will make your design more beautiful. Turmeric and vermilion are used to color the rangoli. There is no limit.

The coloring agent (generally in powder form) is mixed with white rangoli powder as required and then filled in the designs.

The combination of rangoli powder, colors and flowers and petals is also used. First the rangoli is drawn with dots and lines. Colors are filled and flowers, petals, leaves are placed on the rangoli design to make it more beautiful.

During Deepavali, rangoli is drawn using rangoli powder, filled with colors, then oil lamps (mud lamps)are placed on the rangoli to make it more beautiful.

Buy Rangoli motifs on eBay - Rangoli motifs beautify your floor in a few seconds.

Rangoli motifs are a blessing for those short on time. You can arrange the motifs the way you like and change the design when you want. Cool!

Where is Rangoli drawn?

Rangoli is drawn at different locations in the house.

As I said earlier, the floor in front of the house entrance is used to draw a rangoli. A different motif is drawn everyday. The place is swept and water is sprinkled before starting the Rangoli. Sprinkling of water helps in keeping the dust and the rangoli powder down on the floor.

Many houses have a separate room for worshipping the idols which is called Pooja Room. Rangoli is drawn in front of the deity.

Drawing a rangoli is a part of religious celebration. The place where the deity is worshipped is beautified with the Rangoli. The motif may change according to the deity or the festival.

Onam, the festival of Kerala in the southern part of India, is known for the floral Rangolis designed by the women. This flower rangoli is called Pookalam

There are also Rangoli competitions held on different occasions. Schools, colleges, ladies clubs have their own rangoli competitions.

Pookalam - Flower Rangoli
Pookalam - Flower Rangoli

The types of rangoli.

The dotted and the line Rangoli. Flower Rangoli.

There are mainly three types of designs. 1.Dots 2.lines 3. Combination of dots and lines.

1. Dotted rangoli - For this the dry rangoli powder is used. The dots are placed in a certain number and at a specific distance. These dots are then joined to form different geometrical designs. Filling with colors is the next step.

2. Line rangoli - For this the rice paste, the liquid rangoli, is used. This is more common in the southern part of India, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh.

3. Dot and Line RangoliFor some of these designs, dots are placed at specific distance and lines are drawn around the dots. Most of the times, the line ends from where it starts. This is more popular in the southern states.

3. For special occasions, Rangoli is drawn on water. It needs some practice, some expertise. Here is how it is done.

In a shallow bottomed wide plate, water is added. On the surface of this water, charcoal powder is sprinkled to form a smooth black surface. Rangoli is drawn using white rangoli powder and colors are filled. It really looks very beautiful.

4. The Pookalam, rangoli from Kerala which is formed with floral motif is a sight to behold. See the image on the right.

color rangoli
color rangoli

Diwali and Rangoli

Diwali or Deepavali is a major festival in India. It is a festival of lights.

Rangoli is an integral part of the diwali celebrations along with the new clothes, sweets, fire crackers, the mud lamps and the illuminations done around the houses and the commercial buildings.

The women folk and the girls get busy decorating the front entrances with lovely rangoli motifs and then coloring them with colored powders, flowers, mud lamps etc.

Rangoli on Amazon Plexo

Romina's Rangoli
Romina's Rangoli

"Why don t you make some rangoli designs?" Leela suggested. Romina closed her eyes and pictured the intricate patterns and symmetrical designs she liked to draw on the sidewalk with colored chalks, or make by arranging different-colored flower petals on the front porch. Then she opened her eyes and shook her head. "No, Leela, I can t," she said. "Rangoli is from India. And half of our family is from Mexico." Romina's class is learning about immigrants, and she must make a project that represents...

 
small rangoli with lamp
small rangoli with lamp

Motifs used in Rangoli

The traditional motifs used in rangoli are inspired from the nature itself. Animals, birds, flowers and creepers are commonly drawn and colored. Beautiful birds such as swans and colorful peacocks are common part of festive rangolis.

Geographical designs are also commonly used. Circles, squares, diamond shape, triangles are also drawn. Drawing Swastika is considered auspicious.

What do you think of this lens? Hope you liked it. - You are welcome to give your opinion. Thanks for visiting!

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    • profile image

      Ankush rai 24 months ago

      Thanks for introducing to rangoli designs

      http://www.designcular.com/rangoli-patterns/

    • profile image

      ciana aggarwal 2 years ago

      HI NAYANA LM FOR ATLEAST SEEING MY POST...............WHEN YOU HAVE ALREADY UNDERSTOOD WHAT I WANT .............WHY DONT YOU GIVE?ANY SELFISH /CELLFISH BEHAVIOR OF YOURS..O THE CREATER OF THIS WEBSITE.

      my real name is based on a riddle..so no police complaint..haahaa.

    • profile image

      Nayana LM 2 years ago

      Thank You so much for all the posts.

      Oh! Hi Ciana do u want the information of dotted rangoli?

    • profile image

      ciana aggarwal 2 years ago

      must tell about dotted rangoli.

    • Ahdilarum profile image

      Ahdilarum 5 years ago

      Colorful art and nice display..

    • profile image

      gracielapischner 5 years ago

      very colorful

    • profile image

      anooptu 5 years ago

      hey, thanks !

      your lens force me to go back......

      i like kolams drawn by my girl friend.

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 5 years ago

      Cool designs.

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 5 years ago

      Cool designs.

    • YogaAngel profile image

      YogaAngel 5 years ago

      How cool!

    • profile image

      informationorg 5 years ago

      beautiful topic about rangoli

    • profile image

      BestLaminateInc1 5 years ago

      These are beautiful examples! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      its so nice ....

    • Nayana LM profile image
      Author

      Nayana LM 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks lioncrusher. Glad you liked my lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great lens, beautiful art!

    • Nayana LM profile image
      Author

      Nayana LM 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi,

      Glad it was of help to you.

    • Nayana LM profile image
      Author

      Nayana LM 7 years ago

      @sudeep13582 lm: Hi Sudeep,

      Alpana is a design on a horizontal surface. Rangoli is also the same. I also checked with my bengali friends.

      Best wishes!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      i help in assisting my younger brother and they had to do a 200 word essay on rangoli patterns and i knew nothing about them but this really helped he got a a- i was really chuffed with him!

    • sudeep13582 lm profile image

      sudeep13582 lm 7 years ago

      Alpana and Rangoli is not same...

    • profile image

      WriterBuzz 7 years ago

      just found your lens. I like it a lot. Thanks for building it. Gave you a thumbs up.

    • TriviaChamp profile image

      TriviaChamp 7 years ago

      Very interesting and quite beautiful!

      ~Jane Debunked

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I have seen this in the Amazing Race Asia, it's one of their task. This is a beautiful artwork!

    • profile image

      nancydodds1 9 years ago

      good subject, nice rogolies, 5*, recently I submitted lenses on Mortgage Calculator, I am sure this will be very useful for your sweet home.

    • Nayana LM profile image
      Author

      Nayana LM 9 years ago

      Thanks Squid Angle SemperFidelis for blessing my lens.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 9 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      I've seen one of these before. And I've seen vendors selling the powders in Little India in Singapore. Fascinating explanation!

    • teamlane profile image

      teamlane 9 years ago

      Luv it! Never heard of Rangoli before, but I love the way it looks!

      Blessed, 5-starred, and favorited by a Squid Angel today! :)

      Colleen ~ www.squidoo.com/squid-angel

    • Nayana LM profile image
      Author

      Nayana LM 9 years ago

      Spirituality: Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      The patterns are a little different in the southern and northern parts of India.

      The northern part does more of putting dots and then joining lines designs. In the southern part, the lines are drawn around the dots.

      In Tamilnadu, the rice flour paste is used more often for rangoli. Especially of festival days.

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 9 years ago

      Isn't there a regional difference between the type of patterns used on the floors? When I was in Chennai I was told this was a typically southern Indian thing.

    • profile image

      absolutbuy 9 years ago

      Very nice, keep growing

    • Arora LM profile image

      Arora LM 9 years ago

      Congratulations! Nayana! Your lens has been made a featured lens on Bed and Breakfast New Delhi. I choose a random lensmaster among my comments and choose one of their lenses as a featured lens.

    • Arora LM profile image

      Arora LM 9 years ago

      Beautiful Rangloi lens, Nayana! Keep up the good work!

    • RaintreeAnnie profile image

      RaintreeAnnie 9 years ago from UK

      Very beautiful, thank you for sharing this. I enjoyed reading and learning about Rangoli. The images are really lovely and fascinating. Added to my faves and 5 stars to you !

    • Clairwil LM profile image

      Clairwil LM 9 years ago

      P.S I forgot to say

      You've been nominated for lens of the week!

      https://hubpages.com/community/Alllnsoftheweek

      Remember to vote for yourself!

    • Clairwil LM profile image

      Clairwil LM 9 years ago

      P.S I forgot to say

      You've been nominated for lens of the week!

      https://hubpages.com/community/Alllnsoftheweek

      Remember to vote for yourself!

    • Clairwil LM profile image

      Clairwil LM 9 years ago

      What beautiful images! Great lens *****

    • profile image

      ques2008 9 years ago

      Great lens, just beautiful - those images come alive with color!

    • EvieJewelry profile image

      EvieJewelry 9 years ago

      Very Nice and learned something new

    • profile image

      Jess_Alexander 9 years ago

      Nayana,

      The designs and color are absolutely beautiful. Congratulations on your new rank.

    • Retro Loco profile image

      Vicki 9 years ago from USA

      These rangolis are very beautiful! Interesting lens. It was fun to learn something new about another culture. Thanks for sharing! I hope you'll visit my Vintage Aprons lens. I have one section on my aprons lens with aprons from different countries, most of them handmade & very beautiful.

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      Tonie Cook 9 years ago from USA

      This is a very nice place to visit.

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      How beautiful!