The origin of Rangoli can be traced back to centuries since when it has become an integral part of festivals all over India and is also considered to be auspicious for the House. There are several legends which have formed a part of folk lore as to how actually did the Rangoli begin.
Chitralakshana, a treatise has the mention of the Rangoli in it and thus the origin can be dated back to the time when this treatise was written. Chitralakshana contains various accounts of the art forms of that era. In one of the legends given in this treatise, it is said that a young man had died.
The families of that village used to worship Lord Brahma. The young man was the only son of a priest living in that village. When the entire kingdom got together to pray, Lord Brahma descended and asked the king to get the portrait of the deceased man to be made on the ground.
Once the portrait was complete, the man came back to life and breathed again. Thus, the prayers of the entire kingdom were answered. This was the first example of the Rangoli being made.
Another popular story says that once god himself took the juice from the mango fruit of a tree and drew the portrait of a very beautiful woman. Seeing this the Apsaras(Maidens) from heaven were astonished.
Since then women got their portraits made in the form of a Rangoli and the ritual of drawing Rangoli with colours or powders began. It is also believed that many kings and rulers of medieval India believed in making Rangolis. During the Chola dynasty and many other dynasties of South India, the ritual of making the rangoli flourished.