“Rangoli ”- The art of painting designs in front of homes during festival.
 “Rangoli is one of the most popular art among Indian women, which is mainly drawn and painted in front of their houses using different colour powders and shades of colour powder. This art can be seen predominantly in the Maharashtra state and Gujarat state of India on all religious occasions and particularly during the “Deepawali” or “Diwali” as popularly known as “Festival of Lights” which falls during October – November. Rangolies are made to welcome “Laxmi”, the Goddess of wealth. It is also seen during the Tamil month of MAARKAZHI in Tamil Nadu state of India. The Maarkazi month falls between December 15th and January 15th. According to the Hindu mythology, during this month the Goddess ANDAL prayed to the Lord TIRUMALA to marry her. It was said that her wish came true. So this month is said to be an auspicious for unmarried girls to pray to god to have a spouse of their dream. During this month unmarried girls arise before the sunrise to draw – paint beautiful Rangolies to welcome the Lord Tirumala and they sing TIRUPPAVAI, praises of the Lord THIRUMAL which was said to have been sung by Goddess ANDAL.
Following are some samples of traditional Rangoli designs.
“Rangoli – The painted prayers of India”
Rangoli is a traditional art of decorating courtyards and wards of Indian houses, places of worship and sometimes exhibitions halls, eating places and inauguration ceremonies as well. The powder of white stone – marble, lime, rice flour and other loose paste is used to draw intricate and ritual designs. Each state of India has its own way of painting Rangoli . One characteristic of Rangoli is that it is painted by commoners and the artists. On some special occasions it is painted in every home with or without formal training in Rangoli art. The art is typically transformed from generation to generation and from friend to friend.

The artists use their bare fingers to create various designs from sandstone powder or grains flour, sometimes colours are used in addition to flour paste. Some women and artists are so skilled with their fingers that they can create figures of deities, celebrities, world or war heroes, landscapes, seascapes, so live and beautifully that one could hardly believe it being made out of stone powder by sitting for hours together in back breaking position. But the most unfortunate thing about the art is, it is turned in to a heap of dust in seconds on lifting the base boards..!

In the evenings of festive occasions when the oil lamps are lit during “Deepawali” or “Festival of Lights” and the atmosphere is cool and pleasant, such Rangoli drawings and paintings create the atmosphere of a well planned “Devine” surrounding. The Indian women and artists believe that the Gods are fond of cleanliness and things of beauty and this is one of the household art meant for propitiating deities. 

Rangoli is a an Indian traditional - folk art, generally created on a floor on special festive occasions. The origin of this art can be traced to the “PURANAS” (works on hindu mythology). Rangoli means a row of colours. The tradition of Rangoli originated in Maharashtra state and slowly disseminated to other parts of India.
Rangoli also known as Kolam in southern India, Chowkpurana in northern India, Mandana in Rajasthan, Aripana in Bihar, Alpana in Bengal. It is the ancient hindu religious floor art. According to a legend recorded in Chitra Lakshana, the earliest treatise on Indian painting, a King and his kingdom were steeped in sorrow at the death of the high priest’s son. Everyday he prayed to the Lord Brahma who moved by the prayer and asked the king to paint a portrait of the body on the floor so that he could breathe life in to it. And with that the art of floor painting came to life; and that is how the stone powder, rice four and flowers were transformed in to picturesque offerings to God in the form of floor painting.
“Rangoli ” is a Sanskrit word which means a creative expression of art through the use of colours. In ancient India, Rangolies were used to decorate the entrances of homes, a floor painting which provided a warm and colourful welcome to visitors. In Indian cultures, all guests and visitors occupy a very special place, and a Rangoli is an expression of warm hospitality. In particular, Diwali – the Festival of Lights – is widely celebrated with Rangolies, since at this time, people visit each others homes to exchange greetings and sweets.

In a Rangoli , powdered colours are sprinkled on cleaned and dusted floor or hard boards with fingers to form decorations – Rangolies can be vivid, three dimensional, plain, yet as beautiful as two dimensional designs. The coloured powder is usually applied ‘free hand’ by letting it run from the gap formed by pinching the thumb and the forefinger.

In ancient times, Rangolies were actual decorations, made on the entrances and walls of houses to brighten up and add colour to occasions being celebrated; like weddings, births and significant religious days. They also signified a warm welcome for visitors. In fact in Maharashtra state Indian housewives make them each morning. The designs would be simple and geometrical but could invoke symbolic forms. Oil lamps (diyas) would be placed in Rangoli to give it yet another dimension.

Thus, reflecting regional beliefs and aesthetics based on a common spiritual beliefs, the art of floor painting is one which has survived all influences and retained and transmitted the spirit of Indian life.