Women have drawn kolams as a silent prayer at the entrances to their homes for centuries in Tamil Nadu.
The kolam is an ancient Dravidian geometrical motif that combines form, movement and colour to announce each new day. The word “kolam” in Tamil implies beauty, form and play; it is a quiet ritual full of grace to make the home a sacred space. The kolam is a symbol of an open heart and an auspicious welcoming. It creates a colourful, devotional presence in all the places that it graces.
With kolams adorning the entrances, crossing a threshold of a home, (or vayipati in Tamil), links the private realm to communal life, hospitality to guests and passersby, the personal and familial to the divine. In this way, kolams are more than a transient art, they are a conscious science. They are a subtle bridge between the intimate home and the vast and challenging world beyond.
In ancient times, wandering sadhus would enter a village with kolams gracing the thresholds of village homes and know something of the lives of the inhabitants of each house. Abundance, hardship, aspirations were written on the earth with a few lines and dots or the absence of them.
Kolams may be linked to the earth, the stars or special festivities, but more than that, they are an offering to the Mother Earth. They are prayers for prosperity, joy, wisdom, and good health. Their visually alluring patterns make villages and towns more festive, joyful, and devotional!