Rangoli contest sees unique patterns by city women

Salt, glitter, coffee power, flower petals and even fruits! These were just some of the materials used by participants at a rangoli contest held in Basavangudi.

A common sight outside Bangalore homes and a fading folk art in some parts, rangoli creation is many times a tradition passed on from generations. Reviving this tradition was attempted by Shree Vidyraranya Yuvaka Sangha (SVYS) through a Rangoli competition on August 8th. The volunteers who organised the event at APS College grounds in Basavangudi put up an impressive show that saw over 600 participants from various parts of the state and city.

The rangoli competition in full swing at the APS College grounds in Basavanagudi. Pic: Deepti Sarma

"Reviving the dying tradition of rangoli was the main idea" opines Nandish S M, the managing trustee of the sangha. SVYS is an organisation that has been dedicated to reviving Indian ethos and encouraging performing arts for over 48 years. The Sangha revolves around the celebration of culture through artistic means. The favourable response of over three to four lakh people for Ganesha utsava (an annual event held every year at these very grounds celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi) motivated the organisation to hold this rangoli competition.

Between 8 am and 10 am on the Sunday morning, APS grounds was transformed into a large canvas reflecting colourful creations and detailed designs of various sizes, shapes, colours and themes. They ranged from freehand rangoli to dotted rangoli to theme-based rangoli.

A participant using glitter to decorate her rangoli of Lord Ganesha. Pic: Deepti Sarma

Rangoli creation is a prominent activity among women of all ages in India. This competition also had only women participants. While the art itself is not restricted to women then why a competition only for women? Nandish believes that an all-women competition would give household women a fair chance over professional male folk artists. The intention was to provide a platform for level-playing game, says Nandish. Not to mention the glittering prize for the winner who walks away with 100 gms of gold, all the more reason for opening out this competition for women over 18 years of age.

Nirmala Bai from Rajajinagar, who has been making rangolis for the past eight  years, drew designs of birds, animals and traditional patterns. She took about an hour and 15 mins to complete her design.

The rangoli patterns that dotted the grounds were made using rice flour, coloured powder, coffee powder, fruits, vegetables and even paper!

This contestant chose to add a blended twist to her rangoli by using coffee powder! Pic: Deepti Sarma

One such rangoli was by Seema Rao, a student who made a design decorated with flower petals and vegetables. Inspired and taught by her mother, Seema decided to create her first ever rangoli in this competition.

The detailing on some patterns made them look like paintings. With no restriction on material except the use of paint, the designs did see some creative material being used. Vaishnavi Darshan, a working professional, used coloured salt to create a freehand Rangoli and was of the opinion that the event was well-coordinated and smoothly-handled.

Significance of the rangoli
Known as kolam in south India, rangoli is an art of decorating courtyards with hand drawn patterns. Drawn on mud sprinkled with little water, the patterns are generally freehand designs or a design formed by joining dots in a symmetrical manner using rice flour or coloured salt. Sometimes flowers and diyas are also used to decorate the rangoli. Rangoli drawing is considered an auspicious tradition in most homes and a must during festivals.

The event saw women from different walks of life and age groups. Housewives, working professionals, and students came from places including neighbouring Tamil Nadu, Shimoga, Gadag. . The organisation of the event was well-appreciated by most participants.

The competition was judged by Dr R H Kulkarni, Principal of Kumara Krupa Road-based art school,Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat. The 100 finalists will be announced this Sunday, August 15th.

The finale will be held on September 12, 2010, on DVG road near Bull temple in Basavanagudi.


  1. Deepa Mohan says:

    Nice report! I only have an issue with the title. The practice of rangoli is very prevalent, and there is no “reviving” of it necessary!

  2. Mundu Kobsal says:

    Very beautiful rangoli. Lovely colour combinations.

    Martin – Juegos

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