'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menoracular [men-or-ack-you-lur]; relating some facts.

On Sunday, a piccie was posted of some pretty decoration. The question was asked as to what kind of art it could be.

Rangoli (or kolam in Tamil, Muggu in Malayalam...) are decorative floor designs used for all auspicious events.  Additionally, simple white designs will often be used at the entrance to the home to 'purify' and welcome. 

Almost always it is created by women. Traditionally the powder used is rice flour, as well as crushed roots like haldi (turmeric), but there are lots of other powders available now and also these patterns can be built up using flowers.  An amount of powder is held in the fist and sifted through the forefinger and thumb. There are some traditional shapes which all girls learn from their mothers.

Nowadays though, the form has been taken to full artistic extreme and there are some astounding things produced.  The extreme wedding and function culture of India lends itself to this.

Mostly, when not used at entrance, the position is that of the floor in the place of worship (most Indian homes have a puja/devotional space or dedicated temple room). Often there is lots of happy chatter between the 'artists' about the festival arrangements, frequently interspersed with chanting of mantras related to the festival, or simple 'japa'; repetition of Lord's name. 

Here are a few of the rangoli I either took a part in laying or witnessed being built whilst at Sandeepany. For a further "eyefest", check here!

...Yes that one above is all flower petals.  It was done for Onam festival and is in the temple. It was about two metres square. 

The one below was professionally done in the temple forecourt and was gob-smackingly good. Photo does it no justice at all. It was enormous and the depiction is of founder of Sandeepany Sadhanalaya, HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda. The building vignette is of the tower and palisade of the temple itself. It was in honour of celebration of Gurudev's mahasamadhi day (day of passing from the physical).

...Something interesting happened in the ether... This post has been put together two days back then scheduled.  I proceeded to read some of my pals' blogs.  Over at Sid's place, he had an entire post on artwork!!!  Not only that, it is art for charity, the very beginnings of an idea within India for Indians.  This is something which I noted very strongly, having become a part of that greater community; the sheer and overwhelming volume of need within that country does mean that there is no single solution and, because it is built into 'dharma', those who can, do their utmost to reach out.  This of course happens everywhere and one is seeing more of the 'grass-roots' local charities and societies growing.

It would be wonderful to be able to support everyone with on-the-ground presence.  This is of course impossible.  Where help can be given, though, it ought to be.  For this one I have undertaken to put the link to this wonderful post and encourage you to visit it.  Not only is it moving and beautiful - there may just be one of you out there who has something to offer this fledgling group!

So do please click through and read all about DESIGN FOR KASHMIR. Thank you.


  1. This is beautiful, intricate and fascinating work.

  2. Those are so intricate and beautiful... it is hard to believe that most of them are done by novices. THANK you for telling and showing us More of these.

  3. Those designs are so pretty. They are very symmetrical.


  4. They are lovely and the one made with flowers would smell good too.

  5. What a wonderful tradition! I love it!


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