Deepavali: Evolution of the humble 'kolam'

Deepavali: Evolution of the humble 'kolam'
Kolam is a form of traditional Hindu art, practised since the olden times and is usually drawn in front of homes to symbolise auspiciousness.
KUALA LUMPUR: The elegant 'kolam'  is a form of traditional Hindu art, practised since the olden times and is usually drawn at the front entrance of homes to symbolise auspiciousness.

Usually, the women in the household, wakes up before dawn, sweeps the entrance, sprinkles or washes the entrance with water before creating the art.

Once water is sprinkled and the ground is wet, the 'kolam' is the designed according to ones creativity and time.

Basic kolam

In the ancient times, finely ground rice powder is used to draw the 'kolam'.

To make it last longer, some may mix water to the rice flour to form a watery paste which makes drawing the 'kolam' a much easier task.

Pulli kolam - FB photo/ Indian ephemeral ground-painting kolam, kalam, rangoli

The reason why rice flour is used to draw 'kolam' is to feed small insects like ants and birds as a sign of charity.
The most basic type of 'kolam' is called the 'Pulli Kolam' in which dots are drawn and linked with lines and loops.

The evolution of kolam

As the world progresses rapidly and people are pressed for time, the humble art of 'kolam' drawing has evolved to suit their needs.

First, came the 'kolam' drawn using coloured powders in which the geometrical shapes of design are filled with dyed rice or sugee flour.

Then came the 'pookolam' where flowers of different colours are arranged in shaping the beautiful designs.

Kolam with coloured powders - FB photo/ Rangoli Designs Kolam Designs Art of India

There are also 'rangoli kolam', a multi-designed colorful kolam done with dyed rice.

Some people also mix rice and coloured powder.

Kolam done with dyed rice - FB photo/Kolam & Rangoli

Some may even oil paint in drawing their 'kolam' to make it last longer - sometimes for a couple of months or even years.

Oil paint kolam/ Pix by T.K. Letchumy

Bear in mind though, all these 'kolam' take time and effort to draw.

'Kolam' has now been taken to another level with the invention of the sticker kolam.

One just has to peel off the back label and stick it onto their entrance.

Sand art type kolam - FB photo/Rangolam Kolam

There is even sand art type of 'kolam' that comes in convenient designs and colours.

The latest craze which has hit the town is intricate sticker Kolam adorned with rhinestones, giving off a grand, beautiful look.

Kolam with rhinestones - Pix by T.K. Letchumy

‘Convenient’ Art

With new invention of the 'kolam', people nowadays choose the easy way to do it.

In the last two decades many homes have been replaced with more and more high rise condominiums and apartments where space is getting limited.

Add this to people’s hectic lifestyles, many people ignore the tradition and the kolam art is slowly becoming more convenient.