Rangoli is one of the most popular and traditional art forms in India. It is a form of sandpainting decoration that uses finely ground white powder and colours. Rangoli can be a wall art as well as a floor art. The designs or patterns of Rangoli are usually taken from nature such as peacock, swans, flowers, etc. Rangoli holds a special place in the Indian cultures and often treated as the painting for the God. Traditionally, colors of Rangoli were derived from natural dyes but now a days, synthetic dyes are used in range of bright colors. Rangoli can also be made from cereals, pulses or a more extensively used material and a specially recognized form is that of floral Rangoli's.
Rangoli is called by various names in different parts of India but the overall essence of Rangoli remains the same throughout India with Rangoli occupying the space of a divine colorful garden amongst the colorful Indian people. Rangoli is called Alpana in Bengal, Aripana in Bihar, Madana in Rajasthan, Rangoli in Gujrat, Maharashtra and Karnataka, Chowkpurana in Uttar Pradesh, Kolam in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and Muggu in Andhra Pradesh. Rangoli truly marks the essence of unity in diversity of India.
Rangoli is usually designed across a certain theme, though the basic approach remains the same. The designs are Geometric and Proportioned. These themes keep changing according to occasions and festivals. Common Rangoli themes are celestial symbols like rising sun, moon, stars, zodiac signs, holy symbols like Om, Mangal Kalash, Swastika, a lighted Deepak, Shree, Lotus etc. Such themes are most popular during the Wedding or other special occasions. Other themes include flowers, butterflies and other creepers, religious themes like figures of Lord Ganesha, Goddess Saraswati or Goddess Lakshmi. Festival themes include diyas or lamps on Diwali or Santa on Christmas. Also, contemporary themes include various artistic designs according to the artistic, intuitive or innovative taste of the Rangoli designer.
Materials used for Rangoli
Rangoli Designs also depend a lot on the material being used for the creation of the Rangoli. Traditionally, colors were derived from the bark of trees, leaves, indigo etc. But today, synthetic Rangoli colors are readily available.Also marble dust is used as color sometimes. Sawdust is another ingredient used for drawing of Rangolis. Colored rice is also used as Rangoli ingredient with rice being colored using food colors. Other pulses and cereals are also used as a Rangoli ingredient. Colored stones are also used for creation of Rangolis when big Rangolis are desired which should remain intact for a long duration. The most diversified ingredient used for Rangoli creation is flower petals. Significantly used flower petals include Rose petals, Jasmine, marigold with finally cut grass and leaves. Floral Rangolis form a great combination of freshness, fragrance, art and divinity.
Most of the Rangoli designs comprise of symmetrical geometrical figures likes circles, rectangles and squares. Various themes are then incorporated within these figures. A lot of Rangoli designs and templates are available online but it usually is a work of your own imagination and innovation. There are no strict rules for drawing a Rangoli. You just have to be creative.
Rangoli DesignsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Rangoli TemplatesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Drawing a Rangoli
Once you have chosen the design of your Rangoli and the area where you want to draw a Rangoli, first decide and mark the center point of the Rangoli. Then first mark the outlines of the Rangoli. Then decide on the color scheme. The most challenging part though is filling in the colors. It may seem easy but actually it is quite difficult. Pick up some powder with your thumb and index finger and fill in the design by rubbing the two fingers together and sprinkling the powder on the floor. It is advisable to start from the inner part. It is difficult though as the powder just keep on slipping through your hand. But a little practice can make you perfect.
Another very interesting form of Rangoli is Water Rangoli, also called Alpana. It could be either under water or on the surface of water.Such Rangolis give a very nice 3D effect and really add glitter to your Rangoli. For this, water must be stagnant.
Alpana DesignsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Rangoli has gained in the reputation of a respectable art form as it requires a lot of creativity and innovation to come up with really good and new designs. Many competitions are also organized around the world in which people show their skill in this traditional creative colorful art. It gives a soothing freshness and divine essence. The colors of Rangoli marks the colors of life and are meant to keep the brightness in life.