Rangoli is an integral part of Indian culture and tradition. Since times immemorial this art form is showcased by women in the country. Rangoli is the art of drawing patterns and designs on the floor and walls using rice flour, chalk powder or special white rock powder. Fingers are used to create these unique designs.
Rangoli has several aspects encompassed in it. Science, history, mathematics, tradition and spirituality are integral parts of rangoli.
Rangolis are not just meant for decoration purpose. They are expressions of gratitude, as it is believed that these designs protect a home, village or city from evil spirits.
These universal designs and patterns are created and revered at the time of rituals and festivals.
Rangolis comprise of various styles. Akriti Pradhan or geometric based rangolis are seen in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Vallari Pradhan or floral based rangolis are practiced in Bihar and Bengal. Another distinct group is seen in Southern India which can be termed as floral-geometrical.
Mandana tradition of rangoli painting is seen all over Rajasthan. Mandana when created on the walls is like a storytelling through illustrations. It is said that the practice of rangoli existed even before Vedic era and was an integral part of life. The symbols drawn expressed the complex philosophical concepts which were prevalent at those times.
Studies show that the first visual traces of rangolis were seen on the seals of Mohenjodaro. They were in a geometric form resembling a mandala. Mandala is a Sanskrit word which means a circle. When a mandala is created, the space becomes a sacred area and acts as a receptacle for the Goddesses and Gods. It is also like a collection spot for universal energies.
The mandana patterns of Rajasthan comprise of geometrical motifs like circles, triangles, squares, swastikas, chess board patterns, wavy lines, and multiple horizontal bands which are seen on the pottery of Indus Valley civilization.
In a rangoli, the dot or a bindu represents the origin of everything and also the merger of everything. The triangle or a trikona represents the female and male energies existing in the universe. The square or a catuskona represents stability. The pentagon or panchakona is an expression of the five elements of universe – air, earth, water fire and ether. The satkona or the hexagram is usually used to worship Goddess Lakshmi the octagon or the astakona is a symbol of protection and is associated with Lord Vishnu. The circle or the chakra symbolizes growth and life.
Rangoli will survive all the influences and will be passed on as an art form from generation to generation. It is a pleasure and a feast for eyes to watch this exquisite art creation on the floor and the walls.