Rangavalli patterns are made by arranging beautiful natural objects
like flowers, leaves, cereals, vegetables, grains, fruits, etc. Not only does it take
little time to execute Rangavalli with these ingredients but they also add colour and
beauty to the designs. If a little quantity of glue is mixed with the powder or ready made
paints are used, the designs may be made to last longer. Such permanent designs can be
seen on ceilings also at some places.
Rangavalli means "creepers painted in colours".
The expressions meaning a group of coloured lines, rangarekhavli, or a group of colours,
rangoli, must have been derived from the word, Rangavalli.
It is practiced in all parts of the country. It is
interesting to observe how the design forms, names and techniques vary from region to
region and place to place. In Uttar Predesh it is called Sanjhi. The reason for this may
be that the decorations are meant for exhibition in the evening. It is known as Mandana in
Rajasthan, Alpana in Bengal, Rangavalli in Maharashtra, and so on by different names in
other provinces. In the Bengal women folk draw a tree with rice powder, sit around and
sing devotional songs for the grace of God. In Kerala during the Onam natural things like
multicoloured flowers are abundantly used.
Rangavalli is a part of our culture, an art useful and
applicable also in engineering designs. This is a matter of pride for lovers of art and
culture. It is hoped that Rangavalli may be used by social education organisers for use at
social ceremonies, by art students, various artisans and craftspersons who can adapt these
designs for application in many media: in wood and concrete and iron; domestic
decorations, embroidery, bricks, and to industrially manufactured products.