Rangoli - the floors of the courtyard

Rangoli - the floors of the courtyard
Rangoli is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Rangavalli’. It is an art form patterned on the floors of the courtyard, living room or entrance of the house using materials such as dry flour, coloured rice, coloured sand and flower petals. It is generally done by the women in the house mostly during a festival occasion like Deepawali, Onam, Pongal and other Indian festivals that are celebrated in Hindu religion as well as other family celebrations like marriages or house warming ceremony etc.

It is known as many different territorial names based on different geographical locations, for e.g. Kolam in Tamilnadu, Alpana in West Bengal, Mandana in Rajasthan, Muggu in Andhra Pradesh and Aripana in Bihar to name a few.

How is rangoli conduct?
A pinch of rangoli powder is taken using the index finger and thumb. As the rangoli is a coarse powder of special soft white stone, it can flow freely when slowly released from the pinch of index finger and thumb.

To make a rangoli on floor, following steps are used –
  • The surface on which the rangoli is to be drawn is prepared by cleaning it thoroughly. Traditionally, the surface was smeared with cow dung, and after it dried, rangoli was drawn on it at specific locations. In the ancient times it was a practice to daily sweep and sprinkle every doorstep with cow dung and draw rangoli.
  • A design or auspicious symbols or signs are selected for drawing.
  • After the selection, the required numbers of points are created on the floor using the rangoli.
  • Then these points are joined with the appropriate design shapes, lines, curves, etc.
The rangoli as per the design recommendations.
Types of Rangoli

1. Rangoli is of two main types :
  • A. Form dominant: In this type of rangoli, lines, cones and circles are drawn proportionately.
  • B. Ornamental: In this type of rangoli, importance is given to flowers, leaves, trees, creepers, animals and birds. This rangoli is more appealing than the form dominant one.
2. A conch, Swastik, Moon, Sun

3. Two parallel lines of rangoli are drawn. In the middle of the lines two curved lines are drawn so as to create a chain. This chain represents a serpent couple.

4. The eight petals represent the universe with eight directions, as well as the sun and Deity Vishnu. The lotus is symbolic of Goddess Lakshmi as well as the energy for procreation, so it is given special importance in the worship of Deity Vishnu.

5. Besides rangolis with a one-sided auspicious emblem (ekalingatobhadra), eight-sided propitious emblems (ashtalingatobhadra) and those which are auspicious on all sides (sarvatobhadra) are also drawn pertaining to religious acts. In this type, a big square is divided into small squares. The small squares are then filled with vermilion (kumkum) in a specific manner so as to create the form of 7. Deity Shiva’s linga. These rangolis are seen in the Shaiva sect.

6. Another type of rangoli is drawn with the help of dots. First the dots are made on the ground and then vertical and transverse lines are drawn joining these dots so as to create various figures such as a peacock, a tortoise, a lotus, a creeper, etc. Though this rangoli with dots is complicated, it is attractive.
Significance of rangoli
Significance of rangoli
In Hindu Dharma, rangoli is drawn during every festival, auspicious occasion, religious rituals, etc. All the festivals, auspicious occasions, rituals, etc. are associated with one of Deity principles. During these days, the Divine principle of a specific Deity is present in the atmosphere in a larger proportion on the day of the respective festival or is attracted to the venue where religious rituals of that Deity are being performed. In order to attract maximum Deity principle, rangolis that attract and transmit respective Deity principle are drawn so that everyone derives spiritual benefits from it.
According to a Principle in Spirituality that ‘word, touch, taste, form, smell and their energy co-exist,’ even if a small variation is made in the form and colour of the rangoli, its vibrations change. The booklet ‘Sattvik Rangolis’ illustrates various sattvik designs of rangolis which attract and transmit various Deity Principles such as – Deity Ganesh, Deity Rama, Deity Krushna, et. al.
The main feature of sattvik rangoli is that due to transmittance of Deity Principle, the devotees get various anubhutis (spiritual experiences) of Shakti (Divine Energy), Bhav (spiritual emotion), Chaitanya (Divine Consciousness), Anand (Bliss) and Shanti (Serenity).

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