New Delhi: Like diya, candles, firecrackers and sweets are inseparable part of Diwali, none can imagine the auspicious festive occasion without ‘Rangolis’. Colourful rangolis are not only a visual treat but also hold a great traditional value to it.

The traditional folk art of making Rangoli dates back to Harappan civilization. Centuries after centuries Rangoli grew in prominence and drew the attention of people throughout the nation. Rangoli which has become synonymous with any festive or important activity is also known as Alpana in Bengal, Aripana in Bihar, Madana in Rajasthan, Rangoli in Gujarat and Maharashtra, Chowkpurana in Uttar Pradesh and Kolam in South India.

Symbol of religious and cultural believe, Rangoli is considered an integral part of any celebration in the country. Earlier the rangolis were restricted to the ‘Poojagrah’ or the room of worship in any house. However with the passé of time, they found were also made in each room and the entrance of the house. With women taking great pride in making rangolis, a special effort is put in to decorate the house in the best possible manner. The designs may vary according to the tradition, folklore and practices in the areas.

In addition to offering a number of designs, Rangoli is made in two ways –wet and dry. Generally, made with bright colors, it decorates the floor but the purpose is to bring good luck and bar the bad omen from entering the house.

It’s a spiritual art form, which requires lots of creativity and presence of mind. At times, making rangoli acts as a stress buster for the house makers. For many who are not aware of the preparations and making of a Rangoli it may appears a simple form of art. However, there is a lot of reasoning, myths and styles associated with the making of Rangolis.

In Maharashtra, the Rangoli is made on the door to prevent evil force from entering the house. In Kerala, flowers are used to decorate the rangolis. In Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, columns play an important role in making them. While South Indian rangolis are based on geometric shapes, the North Indian rangolis are on auspicious signs.

There are different stories associated with Rangoli, and people have different faith and believe in making them in different parts of the country. The origin of rangoli is traced in the Chitralakshana, the earliest Indian treatise on painting. When the son of a King's Chief priest died, Brahma (Lord of the universe) asked the king to paint the likeness of the boy so that Brahma could breathe life into him again. It is believed that the first painting was made in this way.

In South India, this ancient art of rangoli is known as Kolam. Traditionally, it is drawn in front of homes to welcome the new guest, good luck, and fortune. Another believe is that Kolam is drawn to prevent ants from entering the house. Earlier Rangoli was drawn using the coarse ground rice powder, so that the ants would take the particles of rice and remain out of the house and also by satisfying the hunger of the ants the family would also get good fortune.

Nowadays, people use “Kolam Powder”, which resembles rice powder. It may be one of reasons that now people complain more about ants destroying their eatables inside home.

Pooja, a student and residence of Nawada says “I don’t know who started the concept of rangoli, but since past three years I am making rangolis on Diwali as the entire exercise is quite interesting and creative.”

Poonam, a residence of Rohini who was a winner of a rangoli competition on last Diwali remarks” I just love to make rangolis, I never feel tired of making them and always try out new designs and patterns.”