Alpona, the form of Rangoli practiced in Bengal is usually done by the womenfolk of the state. Even though the basic designs are more or less same, new forms and new colors are being tried on a large scale. The changing moods of the seasons are also very much reflected in the Alpona designs of India. The patterns are made with the help of a small piece of cloth drenched in a blend of powdered rice.
Here are a few Alpona designs for you.
Making of Alpana
Alpana designs are drawn with the help of rice-powder, diluted rice paste, powdered colors (produced from dried leaves), charcoal, burnt earth, etc. Materials like colored chalk, vermilion, flower petals, grains, etc, are also used to decorate the designs. The motifs usually comprise of sun, ladder, leg of goddess Lakshmi, owl, fish, betel, rice stem, lotus, plough, sindur box, etc. Presently, Alpana patterns seem to be influenced by Santiniketani style of art.
Making of Alpana patterns is a part of the rituals in the numerous vratas (fasts) kept by the Hindu women of Bengal. They beautify the whole house and paint the floor with Alpana art, drawing designs passed on from one generation to the other. Bengalis also make use of the Circular Alpana as a holy pedestal while worshipping a deity, especially at the time of Lakshmi Puja.