Sunday, November 8, 2015



( A Typical kashmiri VYOOG or RANGOLI
Mobile Photo by Autar Mota )
"Dedi Tossa Kotnuss ropp Yendrus tai
Naabud aapraav Ramchandruss ..."
" The Grandmother has spun Tossa cloth
on her silver spinning wheel ,
Now put something sweet in Sri Rama's Mouth "

These lines i heard recently in a marriage function from an elderly women as part of the VANVUN ( Traditional Singing ) she recited when the bridegroom was brought to VYOOG ( Rangoli ) and made to stand over it prior to his departure to the bride's house for the auspicious LAGAN . He stood inside the circle of the VYOOG that had images of flowers and leaves drawn with dry colors. An elderly woman relative brought a piece of Kaju Barfi and offered it to the boy. .

Geometrical shapes drawn with bright colors at the entrance during festivities and marriages are auspicious symbols meant to ward off evil. Apart from this it is believed that these colorful drawings known as RANGOLI in India and VYOOG in kashmiri bring happiness and bliss in the household as also in the personal lives of people who gather around it or stand upon it or dance around it. This custom prevailed with ancient Greeks as well. There is a mention of Rangoli in Ramayana as well . In India , it has its roots in Rig Vedic civilization.
Apart form entire India , drawing Rangoli is a part of festivities in many Asian countries including Bangla Desh , Indonesia , Sri Lanka , Malaysia , Thailand and Nepal. In Tamil Nadu , KOLAM OR Rangoli has been developed as a Folk Art with varied designs and patterns representing Geometrical shapes combined with images of deities , leaves and flowers .

For kashmiri Pandits , VYOOG or Rangoli is a rich Tradition that is made live in Marriage Functions . I am informed by many elders that rice powder , Turmeric , Surkhi ( Red Brick powder ) , Vermillion ( Sindoor )and colored saw dust were also used to prepare Vyoog before the arrival of synthetic colors . A circle is a must in VYoog drawn by kashmiri Pandits . This circle is filled with images of flowers and leaves . An image of a earthen Lamp or Diya is also drawn .The circle represents the MANDALA ( Universe ) as it appears in Rig-Veda . This circle or MANDALA is believed to be a symbol of perfection, eternity, unity and completeness. A MANDALA is also cosmic drawing that reminds us of our relation to perpetuity, extending beyond and within our bodies and minds. The flowers and leaves represent bliss and life while the Lamp represents light of knowledge . Kashmiri Pandits always bring a burning lamp to the VYOOG . At the time of the marriage , A bridegroom is made to stand on the Vyoog ( Both at the time of departure from the house or at the time of entering back to the house with his groom ) and something sweet is offered to him /them by some elderly woman in close relation . Women sing Traditional VANVUN and dance around the VYOOG for prosperity and happiness of the couple . Rangoli colours are now sold by shopkeepers all over the country . Even Ready made Paper or plastic Rangolis are now available in the market . These Designer Rangolis have adhesive for fixing to house floors . In spite of this convenience , Kashmiri Pandits still prefer to Draw VYOOG manually using colors and Traditional Geometrical designs .

I found this practice of VYOOG or Rangoli prevalent with Balinese people as well. The Circle drawn by them in the Rangoli has a central symbolic image of Mount Meru .

Late Rajinder singh Bedi specially wrote Rangoli scene for his 1962 movie RANGOLI . And we remember Hasrat Jaipuri's song " RANGOLI SAJAAO RE “ sung in Kehrava Taal by Kishore kumar...

( Autar Mota )

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  2. nice post! reading it I remembered the last year Diwali festival when my mother and myself cooked a variety of dishes and drew rangoli designs and performed Lakshmi pooja in the evening. Really I love the festival Diwali !


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