Rangoli is a bright and colorful design pattern handmade using dry powders and/ or flowers. It is a traditional Indian art form dating back centuries and even has mythological connotations about how and when it came into being. Even today, Rangoli making still has the basic traditional soul, it is only that the design patterns, choice of materials, dimensions etc have expanded to newer horizons and not restricted to the original religious sentiments only. The skill of Rangoli making and its patterns have passed down from generations. Women traditionally have been responsible for creating Rangoli in porches, courtyards or right outside the entrance of the house while children slowly start participating and learning by watching. Though most people can attempt making a rangoli, it the level of expertise that results in intricately sophisticated patterns. It's just like painting on a canvas, one gets better with practice and uplifts the product through an understanding of design sensibility and natural skill. For a newbie, one can start with simple Rangoli designs in geometric patterns that are lot less complicated, bigger dimensions so that it's easier to fill colors and gradually move to more detailed ones.
The “hold” is the most important aspect in Rangoli making with dry powders. How neatly can one draw the borders (usually in white) and how evenly each section of the pattern is filled with different colors, determines how the end product would look like. Though there are hacks to hide any errors, like using flowers, placing Diya (oil lamp) on a smudged part etc, with practice, these flaws can be minimized greatly. The hold gets better with time, though it is best to take tips from an expert personally or through internet videos. Once the hold is understood one can start with simple geometric patterns that incorporate circles, squares, and other geometric patterns that are relatively easier to create. It is possible to create great works of art using these simple shapes. An array of concentric circles, an abstract design of criss-cross lines then filled with bright multi-colors, squares, and triangles placed together to create bold patterns in solid colors are easy to master and look pretty great.
Using the dots pattern is another simple way of making Rangoli. This method is quite popular in the southern and western states of India. The Kolam which is another name for Rangoli is often referred to this particular style. The beauty of this pattern is that one can make very simple basic patterns and also pretty elaborate ones in bigger dimensions. The simplest one can be a 5 by 5 rangoli which is a square of 5 dots of rows and 5 dots of columns. These dots or points based Rangolis are known by different names, like bindu(in Hindi), chukkala muggulu (in Telugu) or chuki rangoli / chukki rangoli (in Kannada). Unlike free hand rangoli making, dots rangoli is created by joining the dots in straight lines or curves creating shapes of leaves, flowers, geometric patterns and even birds and figures of Gods. With this method, one can make the pre-decided size of the Rangoli and for a beginner, it seems much easier to simply join the dots rather than make shapes free hand. There are plenty of ideas available on dot rangoli and many of them have been passed down from older generations to the next.There is no limit to what one can draw with dots pattern, it is based on creativity and imagination.
Simple Rangoli designs in geometric patterns
Drawing geometric shapes is another good way to make simple rangoli designs. Colorful squares and diamonds in symmetric patterns or circles and semi-circles help create ideal designs for stunning Rangoli art. A pattern of criss-cross lines that create triangles of various sizes then filled with a multitude of colors can look like a great abstract art. The use of only straight lines is easy to master and helps to improve the art of working with loose powder.
Though Rangoli is mostly referred to as the one made using dry powders, a flower Rangoli is another popular style. If working with rice flour or commercial dry powders seem daunting, simple rangoli designs using flowers is a great option. Not only does it look gorgeous, it requires relatively less skill and is not as time-consuming. With flowers, huge Rangolis can be achieved in a matter of minutes instead of hours. For some festivals like Onam in Kerela, the flower Rangoli is typically made in every house. These are called “Pookalams”. In rural areas where there are large open spaces, traditional houses can be seen decked with massive flower carpets adorning the entire veranda or the courtyard. Some patterns use the whole flower while some use only the petals. With petals, it becomes easier to sort and design the color theme. Marigold in different shades of yellow is a popular choice and so are rose petals in different colors. Mogra and Jasmine are quite a favorite for white. Fine grass and herbs are also used for the greens.
Rangoli made of grains and dry pulses is another brilliant way to create a unique Rangoli design that is simple and uncomplicated. Pulses are available in several colors and each of them can be used cleverly to create one-of-a-kind rangoli. Beans, black, yellow, white, brown pulses and rice and wheat are easily available in every home, are natural and sustainable materials for Rangoli. For ones who are environmentally conscious, this makes perfect sense. Once it is time to remove the Rangoli, the grains can be simply cleaned and used for meals. It helps that with grains, it is the pattern that matters and not the expertise of handling the material, unlike the Rangolis that use fine powders. These Rangolis are also quick and easy to complete.
Fortunately, Rangoli as an art form has retained its original form and also evolved into something that the modern generation can still relate to and enjoy. Rangoli was originally done in small patterns of two square feet but now there is no limit really. Earlier it only had a religious significance but today it is a well-established art form and is created without religious connotations too. For anyone who is keen on learning this art form, it is never too difficult and never too late. Start with simple designs with preferred materials and one will naturally branch out to more complicated stuff gradually.
Did you just created a wonderful rangoli design? Would you do one again? Let us know any of your tips and tricks on how to choose your own rangoli design.