According to Chitralakshana, the earliest Indian treatise on painting, when the son of a King’s high priest died,
the king was most distressed. Brahma, lord of the universe decided to help the king and asked him to paint a likeness
of the boy on the wall so that Brahma could breathe life into him again. That was believed to be the first Rangoli.
Another legend has it that God, in one of his creative moods, extracted the juice of a mango and painted with it the
figure of a woman so beautiful that the painting put all the maidens in heaven at shame!
The Indian Kings and royal families to gave impetus to this art form which it was believed that only the very skilled
could attempt. The Chola rulers are notable in their propagation of the art of Rangolis. Like Hindu and Buddhist Mandalas,
the reason for using powder or sand as a medium for creating Rangoli is sometimes thought
to be a metaphor for the impermanence of life and Maya.
Different names of Rangoli:In every region of India, Rangoli is known by different names :
Kerala : Puvidal - "Puv" means flower and "idal" means arrangement, i.e. Rangoli by flowers.
Bengal : In Bengal Rangoli is drawn by rice paste and known its known as Alpana
Orissa : Rangoli is known as 'Ossa'
Almora - Garhawal : Rangoli is known as 'Alpana'
Tamil Nadu : Rangoli is known as 'Kolam'
Andhra Pradesh : Rangoli is known as 'Muggu'
Karnataka : Rangoli is known as 'Rangoli'
Maharashtra : Rangoli is known as 'Rangvalli'
Gujarat : Rangoli is known as 'Sathiya'
Rajasthan : Rangoli is known as 'Mandana'
Madhya Pradesh : Rangoli is known as 'ChowkPurna' ( Traditional designs fitted in square with leaves and flowers )
Uttar Pradesh : Rangoli is known as 'Sona Rakhana'
Bihar: Rangoli is known as 'Aripana'
Rangoli in Kerala is called Puvidal. Puvidal is derived from 'Puv' means flower and 'idal' means arrangement.
Puvidal is commonly known as Pookhalam. Pookhalam consists of two words, 'poov' meaning flower and 'kalam' means colour sketches on the ground.
It is an intricate and colourful arrangement of flowers laid on the floor.
It is believed that the spirit of their dear King Mahabali visits Kerala at the time of Onam.
The tradition of making Pookhalam is followed as a ritual in every household during ten-day-long Onam celebrations.
People in Kerala especially adolescent girls prepare elaborate Pookalams to welcome their most loved King.
Pookhalam is usually circular in shape and is made of multi- tiered colorful arrangement of flowers, petals and leaves.
They are normally laid on the front court yard of the house. Diameter of a Pookalam normally ranges from four to five meters.
Idols of Mahabali and Vishnu are placed in the center of the Pookalam and worshiped.
This ritual of making the flower arrangement continues for all ten days of Onam.
Making patterns starts from the day of Atham(First day of Onam) and is made ready by Thiruvonam day(Tenth day of Onam).
Basic design is prepared on the first day. Size of a Pookalam is increased by adding more to it on every passing day hence a huge Pookalam gets ready for the main day of the occasion.
Its a big creative task, as ladies have to think of a new design everyday.
Making of Pookalam is in itself a colourful and joyous event. Being a team effort it helps to generate feeling of togetherness and goodwill amongst the people. It is fun to watch women as they prepare Pookalam while singing traditional songs,
giggling and sharing jokes between the thought provoking and back breaking job.
Alpana, the form of Rangoli practiced in Bengal, is a natural representation of the artistic sensibility of the people in Bengal.
Ever since the Bengal Renaissance that had passed over Bengal in the 19th century,
Bengal has remained in special focus of the orientalists and cultural historians for its rich cultural heritage.
This heritage gets best reflected in the festive occasions, which may be called the ways by which the people live.
The origin of the Alpana[rangoli] 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.
So, the term 'culture', in the anthropological sense, meaning ways of life, is perhaps nowhere clearer than in Bengali life.
Among those innumerable cultural One of the Bengal's most creative art is alpana.
Alpana is created to drive away the influence of omen and welcome peace, wealth, health and ever lasting happiness.
Kolam is another name for Rangoli, its mainly drawn mainly during Onum.
The Pookalam or floral Rangoli is made on the occasion of Onam in order to auspiciousness to one's home.
It is said that King Mahabali whose soul visits the state on the ten days and they belive that King will be happy to see
beautiful designs made out of flower on the entrance of the home and hence people believe that the prosperity and happiness of that home is ensured for along time.
People draw nakshatram of the day on the Pookalam, for example on the Moolam day, Pookalam is made with four corners while on Thriketta, the representation of the nakshatram is done
by making a protrusion on the circle in the form of a hand.
There is a popular belief that ten rings or steps of the Pookalam represent the ten deities in the Hindu pantheon.
First step defines Ganesha, second defines Shiva and Shakti, third defines Shiva, fourth defines Brahma, fifth defines Pancha Boothangal,
sixth defines Shanmughan or Muruga, seventh step defines Guru, eighth step is for ashta digpalakar, ninth defines for Indra and tenth
defines Lord Vishnu.