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Kolam (Rangoli) refers to the decorative artwork drawn on the floor in front of houses/deities using finely ground rice flour. Adding color to the artwork makes it more beautiful. It is a time old cultural tradition of south Indian families going back to many generations. Young girls learn this artwork from their parents. The drawing starts 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 zigzag away around the entire set of points. Nowadays there are stencils available to speed the process of making kolams.

During the Tamil month of markazhi (Dec-Jan) large size Kolams are put in front of the houses, with additional decoration using yellow flowers of pumpkin. But unfortunately the practice is becoming nearly extinct in metropolitan cities where more and more people are living in apartments.

Updated on 7th June, 2005

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