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The Celtic Art Coracle Volume 1 Issue 4
Extract from "Rangavalli Part II" 
copyright B.P. Bairi, 1976 Udipi, Chitra Kutira, edited by Aidan Meehan

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 and Bhagawatha.


copyright B.P. Bairi, 1976 Udipi, Chitra Kutira

The Celtic Art Coracle Vol 1
Contents Coracle Press 1983
ISSN 0828-8321 
All Rights Reserved











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