Recently I moved into a new apartment in India and as is the custom we had a”pooja” prayer as part of the entry to house.Over the years I have been admiring these things as spiritual as well as artistic view points. The “Pooja’ is very elaborate and colourful. The main thing in this particular devi pooja is the “Mandala” or the rangoli.Freehand drawing done with each line drawn according to the size prescribed by scriptures creates perfect ‘Mandala”. I have been admiring the dexterity in which they freehand draw the whole “Mandala’. As a quilter it is interesting to see these designs and color combinations and the thought which is attached to it. Every design has a deeper meaning than just pleasing to the eye. I have been thinking a lot about these things as I plan my quilts. Things need to be more meaning full,thought provoking than just popular ideas . I have been working in these thought process for some time now.’ Popular design ideas’ or ‘thought provoking ones’? is the question I ask my self and without any doubt I choose the second option.
The ‘Durga Namaskar puja’ is a puja prayer to Goddess Shakti to lift us from the shackles that limit us on our path of progress – spiritual and material.The Goddesss is invoked in the diya (lamp) Before we invoke Her, we invite her entire retinue to take their seat in the rangoli mandala ,the design & size of which is as prescribed in the scriptures – and the 5 colors each signify one of the 5 elements – red (agni-fire), white (vayu-air), black (prithvi-earth), green (jal-water) & yellow (akash-sky). We light 5 lamps – again to signify this. Panch Durga is then invoked in the central lamp.
The whole mandala was done by the priest on chosen part of the clean floor in the house without any prior drawing. Design was created freehand and colors were filled by powders made of natural ingredients like turmeric,rice, etc.Black color was obtained by coal by burning of few particular things.It is amazing how the whole design comes to life . Flowers were laid later on the “Mandala’ which is main way of worship.
Once the pooja is over all the things used to create the mandala are disposed by placing them under any big tree bed to be mixed with mother earth. A natural way of keeping the environment clean.
Commercial fabrics as block prints are repeating many of the traditional designs of rangloi. Many of the designer clothes have the traditional pattern designs embroidered on them.None of these embroideries are from computerized machine patterns but the artisans freehand do it in very basic machines.