The Beautiful Art of Kolam

kolam 2

Kolam is an age old tradition in Southern India. These are temporary geometric designs consisting of curved loops drawn around a grid of dots employing rice flour/chalk/chalk flour or oher types of white or colored powders. Female members of Hindu families draw Kolams in the front of their houses. These are also known as Rangolee in Maharastra, Hase in Karnataka, Muggulu in Andhra Pradesh and Golam in Kerala.

While living in Chennai, I have watched with fascination my mother along with several other women on our street, drawing a fresh new Kolam every morning. This would be done after cleaning the floor with a broom and then with water. They would draw what appeared to be very complex designs in a jiffy, sometimes without lifting their hands off the floor. During the day the Kolams would get eroded by people’s feet, and the wind. But not to worry. A new one replaced it the following morning.

As always these Kolums are not just decorative. They have a cultural sginificance. They are meant to bring prosperity to the house and are symbols of welcome as well. There are many other purposes, but the following is what I found particularly endearing and is probably also true. In days of yore rice flour Kolams were drawn so the ants did not have to travel too far for food. They also attracted small birds and likewise other small creatures, hence welcoming other forms of life into the home and everyday life symbolizing harmony and peaceful coexistance with nature.

Below are a few Kolam designs drawn by my cousin and her friends 🙂

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kolam 4

kolam 5

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3 thoughts on “The Beautiful Art of Kolam

  1. Sarada

    Thanks for sharing an interesting Post on Kolam Simi.
    Though Things have changed a lot over the years in India the Art of Kolam continues to flourish with enthusiastic participation of girls and women.
    Some girls draw the kolam on their own. Some join with their friends to create beautiful and amazing work of art.
    Thanks for Sharing these beautiful Kolam designs created by Your cousin and her friends.

  2. sudhaguda

    lovely post on kolam simi
    Telugu people call it as “Muggu”
    Now also in London at festival times I will draw muggu in front of door as we have place 🙂
    Thank you for sharing Kolam designs of your cousin and friends

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