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Short Essay On Floral Decorations In Hindu Religion

Floor and wall decorations are considered auspicious, bringing good fortune and blessings of the deities in Hinduism. Traditional Hindu households regularly have auspicious floral and geometrical designs on floors. Here is a short essay on floral decorations in Hindu religion.

Hindu women throughout the Indian subcontinent herald important occasions either by re-painting their houses or by decorating doorways and main entrances. Usually drawn at the doorway of a home, these patterns can be geometric or floral and are done afresh every morning.

This ornamentation is known by different names in various regions of the country. In the western Himalayan region, it is called apna or likhnu; in Uttar Pradesh it is called cauk purna or sona rakhna; in the Gangetic Plains to the east, it is known as aripana or alpona; as rangoli in Maharashtra, Gujarat and most regions; and in Odisha it is called cita or osa. In Gujarat, it is known as sathiya and mandana, while in central and South India it is called rangavalli, rangoli and kolam and in Punjab it is known as chowk purna. Women from Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand also draw mandalas or yantras and make ritualistic drawings on festive and ceremonial occasions. Kerala is famous for the onam pookalam – made using flowers and leaves – during the onam festival.

Auspicious symbols are painted on the floor around the house altars, walls and courtyards on occasions of festivals, weddings, birthdays, the annaprashan ceremony (when the newborn baby is fed food for the first time) and the yajnopavita (investiture) ceremony.

Festivals have their own ritualistic designs, the Chamunda design being the basic design for all havanas and yajnas. The cycle of seasons for ceremonial paintings begins with the month of Chaitra (mid-march) when Annapurna, the Hindu Goddess of plenty, is propitiated for a good harvest and prosperity.

Throughout the country, Diwali is the most important religious festival of the Hindus. On this occasion, the house is dusted and whitewashed to welcome Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Around the house altar, women draw a large circular floral mandala. The floor is embellished with the footsteps of Lakshmi, one following another from the threshold to the house altar where the images of Ganesha and Lakshmi are enshrined for worship. On the fa├žade, crude figures of peacocks are painted with a mixture of clay and cow-dung.

The courtyard/doorway of the home is plastered afresh and embellished with diagrams and ornamental patterns on each ceremonial occasion. Rice paste, believed to ward off evil influences, is used.

The floor patterns are called patterns are called aripan or aipan or kolam and are done with rice flour that is allowed to drip through the forefinger and middle finger onto the ring finger. The first step is placing dots, which are then linked with lines resulting in simple looking but intricate patterns.

The ring finger is used to make patterns on the floor which is painted on earth-red color with geru in some regions.

Caukis or ritualistic boards, which are symbolic of the religious aspirations of the people, are made for a number  auspicious occasions, associated with rituals from birth to marriage. Namkaran cauki, or the naming ceremony board, Yagnopavit cauki or the sacred thread ceremony board, dhuliargh or the cauki on which the bridegroom stands while being welcomed into the bride’s home are part of the ceremonial patterns.