MADURAI, INDIA, May 25, 2014 (Times Of India): The frescoes on the roof of Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple and the kolams (rangoli) patterns on the floor are outstanding works of art. The kolams, drawn by connecting hundreds of thousands of dots, are obviously the outcome of strenuous efforts. Now, efforts are being taken to preserve and repaint the kolams.
A grand kolam connected by a hundred thousand dots is in the corridor near the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Sundareswarar. It was drawn by a group of women about 35 years ago to keep the tradition alive and also as a form of penance. Family members of the original artists are now repainting them and are expected to complete the exercise in a day or two.
Painting of kolams in the temple was started by Lalitha Sankar. She had learned its intricacies from S. V. Thambirasu, a master kolam artist. Lalitha used to draw beautiful kolams on the floor of the temple way back in 1979. Subsequently, a small group of women trained by her managed to draw one hundred thousand kolams in the temple corridors. They were repainted from time to time. Now, Lalitha's daughters-in-law have taken up the task. They first draw the design with chalk and then paint over it. They are guided by older women adept in the art.
Drawing of kolams is an integral part of Indian culture. It is believed kolams bring prosperity to homes. It is also said the wellbeing of the artist is enhanced when one bends to draw the designs early in the morning.