In Tamil Nadu there is a tradition wherein the women folk of the household get up early in the morning and make a rangoli called as kolam. Kolam is traditionally made of grounded rice that is rice flour. Early in the morning women wake up and clean and wash a patch of land outside the house and then make Kolams there while the surface is still damp. Kolam can be drawn using other materials also such as rice paste, marble powder, coloured powders, leaves, flowers, limestone powder, etc.
Sikku Kolam Tradition of South India:
Sikku kolam is a type of kolam that is made using dots as a base. Usually in order to prepare kolam dots are made ranging from four to 108 dots. A grid or pattern of dots is created in order to facilitate making kolam. These dots are then joined in lines or curves in order to make patterns. Also curves are made around the dots forming a beautiful pattern. So in all basically Kolams consists of dots and lines and curves to make a beautiful pattern.
Many households first clean the floor and wax it with cow dung so that it creates great contrast against the traditional white powder used for making a kolam. In such conditions the Kolams look exceptionally beautiful due to the black and white contrast. Nowadays, the Kolams are also made using chalks and even vinyl stickers are available in various kolam patterns.
In order to facilitate drawing dots various plates and boxes are available where there are designs etched with holes provided. The only thing one has to do is fill it with kolam powder and tap on the ground and voila a beautiful kolam design is made. This has indeed made the art easy, popular and accurate in terms of design.
There are various typical Sikku kolam patterns available, however, if the person creating Kolams is creative then the sky is the limit. One can prepare any pattern or design of kolam as per their wish. Big, small or average-sized kolam patterns are always a hit and suit all occasions with grace and beauty. Kolam patterns are passed down from generation to generation like a family heirloom. They are passed down to the daughters by their mothers. This has been a long and a continuing tradition hence one cannot fear its extinction in the near future.
However, due to increasing modernization Sikku kolam is losing its importance. In metropolitan cities people do not have time to sit and prepare beautiful Kolams. The fast life of city dwellers is rapidly becoming the reason for losing the tradition of making Kolams. It is feared that for some future generations the tradition of making Kolams will remain a bed time story only. The importance of following a tradition should be made known to forthcoming generations as well.