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Kolam ( decorative artwork drawn on the floor
in front of Houses ) of South India

Kolam- a brief introduction

A distinctive cultural tradition of Tamils of South India is beautiful Kolams drawn in multicolors. "Kolam" refers to decorative artwork drawn on the floor in front of deities in puja rooms or in front of houses in South India. Most often finely ground rice flour is used to make these drawings on wet/moist ground previously sprinkled with water (even dilute solutions of cow-dung cake that gives a darker background to the mud floor). Coloration of the artwork with color powders adds additional charm. It is a time old cultural tradition of south indian families going back to many many generations. Young girls learn many of these artwork from their mothers, grandmas, aunties,.... The drawing starting with a certain number pattern of points and curly lines going around these points. Many of these are completed with a single line going in an elegant but zig-zag away around the entire set of points. The tamil month of "markazhi" (Dec(Jan) is particularly important when fairly large size Kolams are put in front of the houses, with additional decoration of Kolams with yellow flowers of pumpkin. Putting Kolams in front of the houses is very much in practice in south Indian villages. But unfortunately the practice is becoming nearly extinct in metropolitan cities where more and more are living in high-rise appartment buildings.
My nine year old daughter loves drawin these Kolams with color pens. For a beginner this method allows fast learning, starting with identification of number of lines involved in the pattern. Hope you enjoy viewing these kolams as much as I do and at least some of you take interest to pass these on to your younger ones and friends. The kolams are presented as a sequence of .gif files, each of A4 paper size. If there is sufficient interest, I can try to provide larger (A4 size) color posters for direct printing using color printers.

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