How to draw padi kolam or kolam with lines

Posted by Chantal Jumel

The line kolam are drawn using parallel lines which cross over at right angles or diagonally. They may start from a dot or a square and form basic structures such a square, a circle, a cross with diagonals, a swastika or two superimposed triangles. To enlarge a padi kolam, we add a series of parallels lines from which new lines join the preceding ones. Around the design, lotuses, conches or other ornamental motives complete the kolam.

These patterns are more abstract and celebrate the upstrokes and downstrokes of Hindu philosophical speculations.  Undeniably, the outlines organized around the center draw the eyes towards the heart of the drawing. Like a yantra or a mandala, negative powers are prevented from entering by the very presence of four stylized gates facing the cardinal directions. The center of a padi kôlam is never left blank and we find one or several dots, diagonal lines, the sun and the moon, a pentagon or a star hexagon.