Sunday, October 18, 2009

KOLAM - Happy Deepavali!

This Deepavali, as usual, colours mark this joyous Hindu festival. What I saw in the shopping malls were lots of splashes of colour - especially on the FLOOR !It's the KOLAM I'm referring to.

It's a riot of colours bursting with artistry to signal the celebration of Deepavali, known as the Festival of Lights. Having visited Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad before, I'm familiar with the rich colours of India. Right here in Malaysia, our Indian communities too celebrate Deepavali with much fervour.

Back to the KOLAM. The shopping malls have done an outstanding job of bringing colour,and with it the Indian culture to the fore. They seem to get better and better each year.

Do check out the LimKokWing website for their latest initiative with Pavilion for this festive season. What pomp and ceremony! I read in the media that one of the colleges made a fruity kolam . Absolutely unique!

What I saw at the Pavilion is astounding. 200 international students of the LimKokWing School of Creative Technology - from over 140 countries and 10 embassies worked tirelessly to produce the 1st Crytstallized 3 D kolams. Huge as they come, the raw materials used were 1 thousand kg of rice grains, and tens of thousands of Swarovski crystal elements and 30 packets of colouring to produce the brilliant, multicolour motifs. It was a lovely experience to follow the kolam motifs down the Spanish steps right down to the Centre Court of the Pavilion shopping mall. How the magnificent KOLAMS enhance the Deepavali mood ! Besides the razzle and dazzle, the kolams maintain the tradition that still lives.

Photo credit : Display Board at Centre Court , courtesy of Pavilion PR - 4 pics above

KOLAMs are ancient Dravidian geometric motifs that grace the entrances of Hindu homes,to invoke the blessings of the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi and to keep evil spirits away. Traditionaly they are curved loops hand drawn around a grid pattern of dots. Also, traditional ingredients like tumeric for yellow, ground brown coffee beans for brown etc make the kolam Nowadays, the commercial powder colours are mixed with rice flour and sandstone for the different hues. Typical motifs are flowers, animals and geometric designs.

To start off,the womenfolk sweep and wash the floor. Then rice powder is placed on the floor for the sandstone to stick better.

I made a kolam sometime ago just for the entrance to my front door. It took more than nifty work to get the pattern out! Have to confess, I even made do with the plastic stick ons and placed the oil lamps on them last year when I had an open house celebration.

Well, like all Deepavalis, I will be colourful, in my new salwar khameez and greet this festival with open arms. Here's wishing all Hindu readers,' Happy Deepavali'! May the lights of this festive season shine on you!


  1. Good info on Kolam supported by lovely pictures. Happy Deepawali.

  2. The kolams feature are very colourful and beautiful. Whenever it is Deepavali season, I enjoy looking at the kolam motifs at shopping complexes, offices and homes. I think these are great pieces of art. Happy Deepavali and may you and your family have a great time! I too had a great time visiting my friends and neighbours and I guess I'm going to have a sore throat soon from eating all the delicious spicy dishes.

  3. Namaste! Happy Diwali, nice pixs of the wonderful of rainbow colours of the Kolam. Just wondering what happens to that 1000kg of rice grains after the display? Could not possibly be eaten after all the mixtures?

  4. Its such a colorful festival. Enjoy :))

  5. Wow, vibrant colors and it must be a combination of different beautiful smells from the coffee, turmeric and more as it is with the different combo of colors. Great to know another tradition from another part of the world.

  6. Absolutely so breathtaking to someone who has lived in Nebraska aLL OF her life and that would be me. Thank you for sharing. Spunky is fine now.

  7. Dear Keats,

    What lovely photos! I think your readers would love to see a photo of you in Salwar Khameez!

    I think many people have forgotten that the Kolam/Rangoli should only be made of edible and safe ingredients and should not use glue or toxic paints. The idea of having a kolam at one's front door is also to provide food for the birds, insects and small animals on Deepavali day. I made one once, of a Stegosaurus (this was in the early '90s, at the height of the Jurassic Park craze) using rice grains and food colouring. It's nowhere near as beautiful as the ones you managed to photograph!

    Deepavali Valthukal! Hope you had fun! I sure did!

  8. Such beautiful burst of colours :P Hope you had a great weekend.

  9. Happy Deepavali!! Thanks for sharing the beautiful pics!!!

  10. I want to see you in your salwar khameez. What is it? Is it a type of sari?

    Thank you for posting the pictures. I wonder if it is still there at the Pavilion, I would like to go see. I think it is so amazing and the effort put it appears to be incredible.

  11. Hi Keats, here I am after another absence, much longer than I wished...
    Lovely post!!
    Happy Deepavalee!!

    Blogtrotter is now at an old spa in Turkey. Enjoy and have a great week!

  12. Wow, fascinating kolam design and colors! I hope you have a wonderful time on Diwali, my dear :)

  13. These pictures are fantastic, love all the colours. Just beautiful,:)

  14. Hi everyone, sorry about the late replies. Have been busy with Deepavali, coping with cough nd sore throat. Also, am competing in the Blog for FT competition. Do visit again and vote , if you like, when the articles are vetted. Just click on the 'Vote for my entry' :))

    Onkar, 'Happy Deepavali' to you too.

    Autumn Belle, hope you aren't having a sore throat like me. glad you managed to visit friends to help them celebrate Deepavali.

    CheaHS@n, that's a good question about the 1 thousand kg of rice. I hope it is at least broken rice!! No, it will have to be thrown away after this kolam exhibition.

    Turquoise Diaries, thanks!

    Pacey, the malls were full of colour this Deepavali and people were enjoying the lovely displays.

    Lucy, i'm glad you like it . blogoshere just brings us so much closer - strangers who are now friends:)) Thanks for being my blogger friend!

    ~Covert_Operations '78~, I was so busy attending to rellies and took only a couple of photos , all in a haste! I guess it's not easy to keep to strict traditions of making the kolam , especially on such a large scale. My sis-in-law's maid surprised me when I saw her kolam. She didn't use any rice flour. it was of a small size but pretty, showing 2 peahens.

    M. kate, thanks for your wishes.

    Veronica lee, Deepavali colours have vanished all too fast!! Well, we wait patiently for next year!

    Ocean Girl, I've also worn a sari but not often and always get compliments:) Do try one or a salwar Khameez if you like. Both are comfortable. I'll take you to the shops to check them out if you like.
    Remember Princess Diana, she wore them too and looked gorgeous in it. it's a loose top with loose baggy trousers pulled by drawstrings at the waist. There's always a shawl, dupatta, to wear with it.

    GMG, thanks for visiting . How I wish I could travel the world like you:)) Take care.

    ROSIDAH, thanks for your regular visits. Really apreciate your comments. yes, I had a bit of a hectic time tho i prapared dinner for 12 in the house. The day staarted with going to the temple,then b'fast of idli at mysis-in'-law's, then lunch hostd by her and it was our turn in the evening.

    lorenabr, thanks for popping by. Ditto about the colours - resplendent!

    salwar .

  15. Great post!
    I was feasting my eyes on those 'Kolam' shots. Nice to know you are carrying on the traditions in a foreign country. :)

  16. This is really beautiful. Well done.

  17. Hi Indrani, in a multiethnic country like malaysia, we celebrate the year round!! We love it!

    Chandra Mohan, thanks so much for your compliments :)) Do visit again.

  18. I love the colors & of course, the taste, of Deepavali! I love Indian bangles and the beautiful saris too!

  19. HI petite nyonya, Do go to Semua House and of course, Brickfields, whichever is nearer and you can buy pretty stuff . Now I know you ARE a colourful person!!


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