INDIA     Master Artisans & Activities   

I n d i a . T h e  L i v i n g  A r t s


   Previous     Next   


In India, art is an important part of daily life. One of the most common ways in which people in India include art in their lives is by drawing rangoli, which are also known by other names like aripona, alpona and kolam.


In villages across India, women draw these designs each morning on their doorsteps, in the courtyards of their homes, or in temples. Using rice powder or crushed limestone, they start with a grid of small dots, then fill in the design with a series of lines. Rangoli not only add a touch of art and beauty to the home or temple, they also protect the family or holy place.

The designs are handed down from mother to daughter. Some of these designs are very old, dating back hundreds and hundreds of years. Flower and animal motifs are sometimes included in the designs, but geometric lines are the heart of rangoli designs. There are also many different styles of drawing, varying from region to region across the country

Drawing Your Own Rangoli Design

Here is a design you can try. You might want to practice first on paper, then try drawing the pattern from memory on the ground or on a blackboard, using chalk. Once you have mastered this design, try the two other designs.

The keys in rangoli are to begin with a grid of dots and lines, and to complete the design in one flowing movement of the hand. The first step in making a rangoli is to place the dots correctly. It takes practice to make an evenly-spaced grid. If the dots are not carefully lined up or properly spaced, the design will never look the way it's supposed to.

First, draw the grid:

  • Row one: One dot
  • Row two: Three dots, with the centre dot exactly below the dot on row one
  • Row three: Two dots – one below each of the spaces on the previous row
  • Row four: Repeat row two

You are now ready to begin drawing the lines. Starting at the top of the diagram we've provided, follow the coloured arrows to make the design. Remember that the entire design should be completed with one continuous hand movement, the way people do in India.

Rangoli Design 2

Rangoli Design 3