Kolangal Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Somash   

Kolam refers to decorative artwork drawn on the floor in front of houses and in front of deities in pooja rooms. Most often finely ground floor is used to make these drawings on wet or moist ground previously sprinkled with water. Even dilute solutions of cow-dung cake gives the darker background to the mud floor. Colorization of the art work with color powders adds additional charm. It is a time old cultural tradition of South Indian families going back to many many generations. Young girls learn many of this artwork from their mother, Grandmother, aunties. The drawing starting with a certain number of points and curly line going around these points. The Tamil month markazhi is particularly important month for kolams, when fairly large sized kolams are put in front of the houses. It is an art. 

Kolam is the most important kind of female artistic expression. All kolams serve embellish the doorstep and make it look more beautiful. The dry, coarsely ground rice flour is placed between the thumb and the forefinger and rubbed together and moved along a predetermined design by the drawer. This is an art taught at a young age and is difficult to master unless you practice. Elaborate designs are made on all occasions. Decorating the floor in different parts of the house is believed to be a good sign. Rice powder is readily available at home. It serves to feed ants to show one must take care of other forms of life. The entrance decoration is a gesture of welcome. It is a symbol of inviting goddess Mahalakshmy to home everyday. The designs are symbolic and basically common to the whole country, like geometrical patterns with line, dots, squares, circles triangles, the swastica, lotus, trident conch shell, leaves, trees and flowers. No gaps to be left anywhere between the line for evil spirits to enter. Kolam is a pride of Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh and Karnataka. For all functions we put kolam and outline (border) with kavi. A red brick powder. It looks grand and more beautiful. Kolam is not only aesthetic pleasing to the eye, makes home attractive and spiritual. Navagraha kolam, Iswarya kolam are spiritual kolams for opening ceremonies, hotel promotions, Bharatha Natya arrangetrams, kolams are very popular. Foreigners also enjoy this traditional art.

(By: Mrs.Lakshmy Sarathi)