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Extreme Rangoli!


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 by  K. L. Kamat
First Online: February 22, 2000
Last Update: May 09, 2017

© K. L. Kamat

It is hard to believe that these 'painting-like' pictures are actually Rangoli made with laying  fine, dry powder through bare hands. The three master Rangoli artists who did these are from Nagpur in Maharashtra. (One of them, Mr. Trimbak Joshi is ailing with poor health and his wife had to constantly attend to him. The portraits of the four is shown at the bottom.) I remind the viewers that Rangoli is a temporary (ephemeral) art in India done with inexpensive, common (rice powder, vermilion etc) materials and the artist has to be very careful not to make a mistake. The subject of the Rangoli are scenes from the Mahabharata, the Hindu epic. They were large designs on the floor and it was difficult for me to photograph them. But I hope that the viewer will get an idea of the mastery and the dedication required for such a Rangoli work.

Scenes from The Mahabharata Epic

Misfortune of Karna

Contest to Marry Royal Princess Draupadi

The Brave Death of Abhimanyu


The Masters of an Ancient Art

© K. L. Kamat

Mr. and Mrs. Trimbhak Joshi, Mr More (pronounced mo-rae) and Mr. Rane

I was fortunate to accidentally run into the these masters during a recent show in Bangalore. Although they conduct these exhibitions often in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra, I had never seen one of this magnitude and class.


Rangoli -The Painted Prayers of India
 Painted Prayers

Spreading an Elaborate Sankranti RangoliColorful Rangoli for SankrantiGirl paints Alpana in front of the door, CalcuttaRural Woman Painting the Hase Rangoli on WallRangoli Design for the Deepavali FestivalA Rangoli is formed by joining predetermined dots
Rangoli Floral DesignsRangoli of a Tree with Numerous BranchesDots are the soul of Rangoli ArtFrom One Generation to AnotherWoman in Sari Decorates the Front YardA Swimming Duck in a Rangoli Design
Duck in a Rangoli PatternDivine Chariot in a Rangoli DesignSanta Clause in a Rangoli DesignKolam (a.k.a. Rangoli) in Tamil NaduArjunas DejectionKarnas Predicament
Draupadis WeddingRangoli to Welcome the New MillenniumA Girl Learning Rangoli by Looking at a BookRangoli made with petalsA Rangoli Artist of MalleswaramRangoli on a Village Hut
Man Selling Rangoli IngredientsCosmic Presence of  Lord KrishnaColorful Rangoli DesignsDeath of AbhimanyuIndian Tricolor in a Rangoli DesignPlay of Dice Between Pandavas and Kauravas
Geometrical Patterns in a HexagonMaking of a Rangoli DesignRice Grain Rangoli DesignTemple ChariotWall Painting, Crafts Museum

Over the years Dr. K. L. Kamat has extensively collected and documented Rangoli designs. Kamat's recently published  art archive on a CD-ROM contains over 50 Rangoli designs.

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