Alpana
Rangoli is Bengal is known as Alpana and its a natural representation of the artistic sensibility of the people. Among those innumerable cultural One of the Bengalís most creative art is Alpana. Alpana is created to drive away the influence of omen and welcome peace, wealth, health and ever lasting happiness.

Making of Alpana patterns is a part of the rituals in the numerous vratas (fasts) kept by the Hindu women of Bengal. They decorate entire house, paint the floor with Alpana art, drawing Alpana design is passed on from one generation to the other. Bengalis also make use of the Circular Alpana as a holy pedestal while worshipping a deity, especially at the time of Lakshmi Puja.

The origin of the Alpana art form is very difficult to trace. Some authorities believe that the vratas with which Alpana is associated can be traced to pre-Aryan times. One can also find detailed mention of Alpana paintings in the later works like Kajalrekha. All the ritualistic and traditional folk arts of Bengal, including Alpana, are believed to have been used by the agricultural communities of the region for driving out evil spirits. The art form of Alpana has been used since ages for religious and ceremonial purposes and is usually done on the floor.

The basis of the word 'Alpana' has two different versions. As per one version, it originated from the Sanskrit word 'Alimpana', meaning 'to plaster with' or 'to coat with'. The other version traces its roots to the word 'Alipana', meaning the art of making ails or embankments.

Alpana is now being used to decorate several show pieces like pots, brass plates to attract the eyes of the viewers. Alpanas can be drawn on earthen plates as wall show pieces, pots, brass plates for table decorations, wall hangings, wooden platforms and of course for floor decorations. Alpona itself can much more be beautified with placing flowers, diyas, candles, and other beautifying objects on it which creates a more rejuvenating and auspicious atmosphere where ever it is made out.

Alpana was originally drawn by the girls to decorate the door-fronts, floors and the places before the idols of God. But gradually it became one of the most precious floor decorating methods, which highlights the area whereever it is traced out. Initially it used to be worked out with the motifs of paddy leafs, feet of Goddess Laxmi, lotus etc, which were meant for welcoming wealth into the house. But now it is experimented with a large variety of designs which are growing up out of its intrinsic aesthetic properties.

Alpana looks white in its appearance as it is worked out with the paste of rice powder. Alpana is also drawn with acrylic, paste of chalks and several other white coloured drawing mediums. Thus it is possible and indeed being experimented using several colours in Alpana.

Making of Alpana: Alpana designs are drawn with the help of rice-powder, diluted rice paste, powdered colors (produced from dried leaves), charcoal, burnt earth, etc. Materials like colored chalk, vermilion, flower petals, grains, etc, are also used to decorate the designs. The motifs usually comprise of sun, leg of goddess Lakshmi, owl, fish, betel, rice stem, lotus, plough, sindur box, etc. Presently, Alpana patterns seem to be influenced by Santiniketani style of art.

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