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Rangolis-Traditional Art Designs To Decorate The Indian Home

Updated on February 20, 2012

A cluster of elaborate rangoli designs with borders and sticking to the theme of PONGAL festival.

I took this picture very early in the morning while the lady of the house was drawing this festive rangoli. The unfinished design shows earthern pots with rice being cooked  and sugar canes, which are part of every Pongal celebrations.
I took this picture very early in the morning while the lady of the house was drawing this festive rangoli. The unfinished design shows earthern pots with rice being cooked and sugar canes, which are part of every Pongal celebrations.

Rangolis for Pongal Festival

A rangoli in front of a temple on the festive occasion of Sankranti or Pongal.
A rangoli in front of a temple on the festive occasion of Sankranti or Pongal.
Another Pongal rangoli with colors filled in. And do not miss the sugarcane on the sides.
Another Pongal rangoli with colors filled in. And do not miss the sugarcane on the sides.
A mother and daughter beginning to draw an elaborate rangoli in front of their house for a festival.
A mother and daughter beginning to draw an elaborate rangoli in front of their house for a festival.
 A cluster of simple white line rangolis decorated with marigolds. Sugar canes again.
A cluster of simple white line rangolis decorated with marigolds. Sugar canes again.
Sugarcane being sold in the market square for Pongal
Sugarcane being sold in the market square for Pongal
Sugar cane for Sankranti celebrations, a must in every rangoli drawing.
Sugar cane for Sankranti celebrations, a must in every rangoli drawing.
A simple line drawing with 2 colors only.
A simple line drawing with 2 colors only.

Festive Rangolis-Designs are filled with colorful rice, pulses, marbles, flowers, oil lamps, stones or just left as plain line drawing

Elaborate design left as plain line drawing. Dots are first counted and kept,and then the lines are joined.
Elaborate design left as plain line drawing. Dots are first counted and kept,and then the lines are joined. | Source
The design is filled with colored rice flour for the festival of Pongal
The design is filled with colored rice flour for the festival of Pongal | Source
Adorned with oil lamps this design is on the living room floor for Diwali.
Adorned with oil lamps this design is on the living room floor for Diwali. | Source
Filled with flower petals, a speciality for the Onam festival.
Filled with flower petals, a speciality for the Onam festival. | Source
Stones and colorful marbles are used to fill up this design at a competition.
Stones and colorful marbles are used to fill up this design at a competition. | Source

How to draw a simple rangoli using dots

Rangoli Art

What is a Rangoli ?

Have you ever visited an Indian family ? Chances are that you would have been greeted by a colorful or plain white design on the floor right in front of the main door. This design is called a rangoli. The Indian home is decorated in myriad ways to suit every occasion. One common thing in all homes is the display of rangolis in front of the main entrance and the pooja room. The entrance to the home has a large rangoli to welcome guests. Outside the main gate to every home also a rangoli with borders is displayed.

According to tradition, guests and inmates of the home always first see the rangoli before entering the house, especially when they come back home. It gives a joy of being warmly welcomed. Also, rangolis are said to ward off evil spirits and welcome positive vibes. Rangolis are drawn on the floor every morning at dawn or just after sunrise. Some homes prefer to draw at dusk.

How the rangolis are drawn

Rangoli is drawn using white chalk powder which is obtained from the rangoli seller that goes door to door. It is also procured at the local markets. On festive occasions, such as Dasara, Ugadi, Diwali, and marriages, upanayanams, naming ceremony, etc., rangoli powders that come in vibrant colors are used to draw and fill up elaborate designs.

There are several types of rangolis. And depending on what state of India you come from, rangolis are drawn. And, since every woman wants a new rangoli design to master, she constantly updates and tries it out, first on paper, then in front of her home. Some designs are drawn on the spot with the basic design in her mind. Most often, rangolis consist of first laying dots with the rangoli powder. Then, the design is drawn either around the dots or by joining the dots. The chalk powder is held between the thumb and first two fingers, and then slowly the powder is allowed to flow between the fingers to form a line or keep dots, small or large. The first lesson in drawing rangolis is always to be able to hold the powder correctly and be able to draw a line, thick or as thin as possible, in an even line. A pinch of powder between your first three fingers is all you need to get this right. Perfecting this will help you go to the next step, of practicing age-old, common yet simple designs that appeal to the universal eye. Then, learn simple designs with the least dots on paper each day. Rangoli books are available. Then transfer this design on to the wet floor in front of your door. It is common to make mistakes while applying rangoli designs. All you need to do, is wipe off the mistake with a wet cloth and you are ready to continue. Wait for the reviews from family and friends and other rangoli specialists among your neighbors and use the free advise given for the following day.

Who draws the rangoli ?

Traditionally the lady of the house is expected to rise early, every morning, take a bath, clean up the front courtyard using a broom. She then has to wash the entire courtyard, and then while it is still wet, get her box containing chalk powder or rangoli powder, and begin to draw, keeping in mind the design she thinks best fits the center of the courtyard or just in front of the gate. So, a visitor to the house will first step on the rangoli before opening the gate to enter. She may choose to add borders to the design too. She then will also draw another smaller one in front of the main door. This too, the visitor steps on as he enters the home. She will draw different designs each day and is the first sign of creativity as one enters.

If there are daughters or daughtersinlaw in the house or other ladies, they too will take turns to show their rangoli skills. The others watch and give their opinion. If it is a festival and there are guests coming in, elaborated designs are drawn by two or more women. Little girls are allowed to fill in the design with the powders of bright colors. Colorful rangolis at once give the home or marriage mantap a festive mood. And all are in awe of the rangoli as they walk in. It is common to see women exchange rangoli designs and girls learning to draw. Learning to draw rangolis , keep house, and cook festive meals are what every girl is taught so as to please her husband and inlaws when she gets married.

For festive occasions, elaborate designs adorn the entrance to every Indian home, which show the significance of the festival. For example, Sankranti or Pongal in celebrated every January is New Year according to the Hindu calender. It is customary to distribute groundnuts, sweet potato, sugarcane, avarekai ( a kind of beans that is available only during this season). Also, rice is boiled in milk in new earthern pots and allowed to boil over. Therefore, the rangolis outside homes depict this in the rangoli drawn. See the pictures alongside. Can you see a pot with something boiling over ? Also can you spot the sugarcane ?

Rangolis are easy to learn if one has the desire. Patience and perseverance is definitely necessary. Because a rangoli once learnt on paper can prove to be challenging when you begin to draw on the wet floor. Proper spacing ensures excellent outcome. The applause each rangoli gets makes every woman want to keep a handy book of rangolis learnt to suit every occasion, and for everyday use. Over the years, every rangoli is perfect.

Nowadays, rangoli stencils are available making it easier for a newbie to get her first rangoli perfect.

Ready made Rangoli design

Simple Rangoli Designs For The Novice

In these designs,specific number of dots are used to weave a design around them.
In these designs,specific number of dots are used to weave a design around them. | Source

Comments

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    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 

      4 years ago

      Beautiful rangolis. It is even more beautiful to see in front of the houses, especially during the festivals.

    • WriterJanis profile image

      Janis 

      4 years ago from California

      These are so beautiful. What a lovely tradition.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very interesting hub! Thank you very much for sharing the information. I knew nothing about rangolis before I read your hub. I love the designs.

    • Faceless39 profile image

      Kate P 

      6 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Rated up, awesome, beautiful, and interesting! I remember seeing these all over the place when I was in southern India a few years ago, but I've never known the name. What an excellent hub; bookmarked. You've got yourself a new follower!

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Very beautiful hub! I voted it interesting and up. Great pictures! Thanks for sharing. :)

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