In India I observed practically every household washing (or having washed) their entrance in the morning and painting a kolam (a/k/a rangoli and many others) in front of the entrance.

I understand that a kolam is used to bring prosperity to the home. I did always wonder how people feel about stepping on these. I've seen kolam in front of entrances to houses, that were painted right on the sidewalk. Sometimes in a matter of minutes, the kolam would be smudged and hardly recognizable.

Is this not a problem, or is it just that having a kolam is better than having none, even if it is stepped on and smudged?

  • 2
    I don't know what the "correct" thing to do here is, but I have always instinctively avoided stepping on them. Stepping on things makes me uncomfortable (what with the uncleanliness attributed to the feet in Hinduism), and stepping on elaborate things like kolams even more so.
    – senshin
    Jun 19, 2014 at 0:02

1 Answer 1


The initial idea is to feed insects and other small bodies with rice flour. Rice flour is put to make diff pleasing arts on cow dung(to make welcoming environment for them, as they cant come on to concrete roads) and it is believed that cow dung has many Ayurveda properties and it makes a positive environment around. More over it is believed to bring prosperity as it welcomes Hindu goddess of wealth Lakshmi.

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    "The initial idea is to feed insects and other small bodies with rice flour." Are you saying this implies it's fine to step on them?
    – Earthliŋ
    Jun 19, 2014 at 10:39

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