A thing of beauty is a joy forever - Keats
India is a land of folk and domestic arts and among them
Rangavalli is the most popular one. It is part of the woman's day to day routine for
domestic decoration and she does it after cleaning the house. Many designs are exquisitely
beautiful specimens of decorative art. It is one of the sixty four arts and embodies a
desire to impart colour and gaiety to everyday life.
This art of ancient origin must have been born perhaps at
the same time when the houses were built and the sense of beauty evolved in the human
mind. In Sanskrit words like Tilakamanjari and Kadambari, vivid descriptions of the
beauty of these designs and techniques of working them out are found. Many believe that it
was used during poojas and vritas even in pre-IndoEuropean times. It must have developed
as early as 5,000 years ago.
Indians believed that the house where the Rangavalli was
drawn would be free from Amangala - distress or ill luck - and that it would be the abode
of God. It was a sign of sorrow not to have Rangavalli in front of a house. Beggars would
not come to that house on such a day.
Before leaving Parnakutira in search of Sri Ramachandra who
had disappeared following the mystical deer, Laxmana drew Rangavalli lines in front of
Sita's hut made of leaves. The Gopikas used to draw Rangavalli to lessen the grief of
separation from Sri Krishna. Vidura, full of ecstasy when he heard that Krishna was coming
to him drew beautiful types of Rangavalli in front of his house with the powders made of
coloured stones which he picked up from the surroundings of his house. Thus was was the
joy and the atmosphere of happiness expressed through this art for the reception of God.
We can find many such instances in the Indian sacred works like the Ramayana, Mahabharata