Puli kolam and its religious importance in Tamil Nadu

Kolam is a type of rangoli that is a tradition in Tamil Nadu. It is a drawing drawn at the entrance of a house or building. It is an old practice in south India. In order to draw kolam dried rice flour or other types of white powders are used. There are many types of typically drawing a Puli kolam. However a lot more can be created depending upon the creativity of the person who draws it. Kolam patterns are created based on systems. Kolams are drawn by the women of the household.

Puli kolam of Tamil Nadu :

In the early morning women wash and clean the place and then create Kolams on the humid surface only. Kolam is drawn by dropping the loose dried rice flour through forefinger and thumb in a controlled way. Kolams are usually prepared on dots arranged in different types of grid patterns. Kolams are drawn not only for decorative purposes. Kolams are considered to be auspicious to ward away evil and negative influences. It has several social, spiritual and symbolic meanings attached to it. It is believed that kolam purifies the entrance space and it will invite the Goddess of wealth Lakshmi to enter their house in order to give them wealth and prosperity. There are different ways to draw kolam patterns. Generally Kolams are drawn based on dots.

They are drawn either by joining the dots or making curved lined. Patterns can also be created by joining lines in between or around the dots. Many people also draw Kolams that are not dot based. Puli kolam is referred as decorative artwork drawn on the floor in front of deities or puja rooms or in front of houses in south India. Many households use diluted mixtures of cow dung cakes in order to wax the floor. This provides a good contrast against white mixture of kolam. In order to draw a kolam it is necessary to identify the number of lines involved in the pattern. The kolam patterns are passed down from generation to generation i.e from mother to daughter. Drawing perfect and beautiful Kolams is a matter of pride and dignity for south Indian women. Kolams are also drawn in the temple premises and in front of the deity.

It is believed that drawing Kolams in temple is a service to God. Kolams are also prepared with colors, flowers, leaves, etc. however traditional way of drawing Kolams is by rice flour. Puli kolam can also be drawn in zigzag patterns and such other complicated patterns. During festive season women draw Kolams so big that one pattern covers the entire road stretch. Small kids learnKolams from their granny’s or aunt’s as a way of lessons. In villages all women folk gather up in huge verandas in order to exchange new patterns and pass on the knowledge of Kolams to the younger generation. Putting Kolams is a very old tradition of south India. However, this tradition is losing its significance and is becoming extant in various metropolitan cities.

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