.  Notes  .  Video  .  Examples  . 
 
Design Resource on
Rangoli

Floor Art
by
Madhuri Menon
Industrial Design Centre (IDC), IIT Bombay


 Types of Kolams - 3:
 

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 00. Index
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01. About
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02. Types of Rangolis
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02a. Alpana
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02b. Aripan
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02c. Aipan
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 02d. Jhoti or Chita
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02e. Muggu
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02f. Kolam
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02f1. Kolam Analysis
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 02f1a. Types of Kolams - 1
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02f1a. Types of Kolams - 2
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02f1a. Types of Kolams - 3
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02f1a. Types of Kolams - 4
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02f1b. Kolam practice
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02f2. Interpretations of Kolam
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03. Elements used in Rangolis
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04. Materials used for Rangolis
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05. Further Links
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 06. Acknowledgements
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07. Videos
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 08. Contact details
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 09. Comments and Feedback
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10. Credits
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Thottil Kolams, or cradle kolams, are created for the naming ceremony of a newborn child. The cradle kolam is drawn and paddy is spread in the middle of the kolam. A song is then sung praying for the health and long life of the child.

* Hridaya Kamalam kolam: On Fridays and sacred occasions, the `Hridaya Kamalam` (lotus of the heart) and the `Sri Chakram` (the auspicious circle) are drawn in the kolams to ensure success and wealth.

In the Hridaya Kamalam kolam dots are set in a radial arrangement and a lotus shaped kolam is what emerges from this matrix. In this kolam the heart is represented by a lotus, hence the name. The kolam is based on dots drawn in 8 lines radiating from the centre in 8 directions with 45 degrees between the adjacent lines. Several variations can be created from the same matrix of dots in this type of kolam.

This kolam is drawn with a single line or kambi that goes through all the dots to form a representation of the lotus flower. Hindus believe that drawing this kolam in one go without removing the hand from the ground has spiritual benefits.

The Hridaya Kamalam kolam is usually drawn at the place of worship to invoke Goddess Lakshmi. It is believed that spirituality unfolds as the lotus blossoms. The centre is drawn first indicating the necessity of being rooted as an individual. Then the radii with dots are drawn in 8 directions which indicate the energy being generated from the centre into all the directions. One starts at one point with a kambi or a thread and then after going through a fixed path comes back to the starting- this is akin to life -a journey that begins from a point and goes back to it in the end.

The Hridaya Kamalam kolam is like a Tantra, with the Yantra and a beeja mantra in the centre. This type of kolam is sacred and one has to take care that it is never trampled on. The following pictures show a Hridaya Kamalam kolam being created by Mrs. Raji Ramanan from New Delhi.


1. The initial grid of dots being created


2. The radial arrangement of dots completed


3. The initial lines being created


4. The lines further being connected to the appropriate dots.


5. Near completion of the kolam


6. The Hridaya kamalam kolam complete, its periphery being adorned by other design elements


7. A border being created all around the kolam


8. Elaborate elements being added to the border corners


9. Red kaavi border being created around the kolam


10. The completed resplendent Hridaya kamalam kolam

The stop animation film and the videos of the above Hridaya kamalam kolam can be viewed from the links below:
Making of Hridaya Kamalam kolam

The Stop Animation film of Hridaya Kamalam kolam

Significance of Hridaya Kamalam kolam

* Circle kolams originally signified water and were often associated with the abode of gods. Today they represent a recipient for the favourite goddess Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, to manifest her abundance and bring health and prosperity to the family.

* Snake kolams originally evoked the spiralling of life forces and the aspiration for an evolution in consciousness. Today they are often used to protect the home from thieves, evil spirits or unwanted visitors, as is the spiral in the Sumerian and Egyptian cultures. These kolams are a kind of curse catcher, or an emotions screen, to keep the household safe, pure and serene. Negative spirits are not necessarily wandering outside the house. The ill feelings in ourselves itself can bring in negative energy. These kolams are drawn as a wakeup call so one is be purified in mind and thought when one is in their presence.

* Weekday kolams:
There are also kolams for each day of the week and for propitiating the planets.

There are the tantrik kolam designs with syllables of mantras for prayers to specific deities.

* Manai Kolam : These are kolams drawn in different areas in a wedding house.At the time of weddings and other auspicious events at the homes, temples, etc., a central motif is drawn in front of the manai, which is called the `manai` or the `padi kolam`. (The `manai` is a wooden plank used for seating individuals, specially the couple, and the priest who is performing the marriage.) The manai is also decorated with parallel lines at both edges to indicate its sacredness. These mani kolams are drawn with the help of the raw rice powder, Manjal (Turmeric), and Semman (Kavi).

As per the Hindu tradition the raw rice powder used to make the kolams is partaken by many ants, insects and birds, and they bless the people in that house. This is considered as an act of daanam/dharman – charity as per the Hindu philosophy.

Kolam for weddings
An example of a Manai kolam


* Pongal kolams: Pongal kolams are drawn at a home in the courtyard, at entrances to celebrate Makara Sankranthi or Pongal. Courtyards are the venues where the savoury pongal is made in a clay pot to mark the Pongal celebrations. So in some homes kolams are drawn around the stove that is specially set up in the courtyard. This area is also decorated with sugarcane and flowers.

There are several types of Pongal Kolams, and a few examples are shown below:

Pongal kolam around the stove(Image source)


Pongal kolam at the entrance of a home (Image source)

*  Line kolams or Kambi kolams : These are based on the basic element - the line or kambi that is used to draw the kolams. In these kolams, free hand lines are drawn by hand to make a geometrical pattern.



*Pulli Kolam : Pulli (in Tamil means dots) are arranged in a specific sequence and order & these pullis are joined to make pictorial designs. These are kolams which are commonly drawn daily, at entrances to homes. These kolams are drawn by using dots and by connecting these dots the women create birds, animals, butterflies, deer and various designs.

A pulli kolam involving deer, and flowers (Image source)


The kolam shown below is drawn with the base of a 5 x 5 matrix of dots.

Step 1: A 5 x 5 matrix of equidistant dots is created first.

Step 2: The initial pattern is created; it involves a line that goes around a sequence of dots as shown.

Step 3: The next pattern which overlaps the first one is created in a similar manner involving another sequence of dots.

Step 4: The final finished kolam  

The steps explained above are only one way to generate this pattern as each person has their own style of functioning. In the initial learning stages a woman creates these dots –to--kolam patterns on a paper before creating them on ground. Once one becomes familiar with the process of creating simple kolams, the other ones- simple or complicated may be created according a personal style. Thus there exist multitudes of kolam designs that can be generated from a simple matrix of dots.

The pulli kolams look intricate and beautiful and are drawn according to one’s creativity.

A pulli kolam