Kalamezhuthu is an optimistically drawn floor art, native to South Kerala. Kalamezhuthu is synonymous to Rangoli popular in North India. Rangoli is a handmade art made using a variety of colors sprinkled on the floor in a particular design. It is a unique form of floor art about 3-5 m scale which includes 5 colours evolved naturally such as white from rice flour, black from charcoal, yellow from turmeric and green from powdered leaves.
Kalamezhuthu is considered to be an amalgamation of Tribal, Dravidian & Arian culture. It reflects the depiction of kali involving sacred tantric elements.
The 5 colours spread in a very specific manner and design acts as a welcoming carpet for the deities like Bhadrakali, Ayyappan & Vettakkorumakan.The lineage of this artwork descent back to the stories of Hindu Mythology. The incident of excessive anger & intense emotion personifies the Kalamezhuthu. Kurups are said to be the in-charge of Kalamezhuthu.
It includes strict rules and regulation as it is not just a Rangoli design. It is attached to the religious beliefs of community people. The art starts from the centre & moves outward & vice-versa is not allowed. It should be sprinkled bare handedly but without using any tools. The pattern & the designing of the Kalamezhuthu solely depends on the occasion & not on artists choice. A hint of extra decoration such as garlands of red hibiscus flowers, sprinkled tulsi leaves, etc. is allowed. The green colour is obtained from grinding dry leaves is to be used for the depiction of main body i.e. Ayyappa, Bhadrakali & Vettakkorumakan.
In the queue of do’s and dont’s another is regarding ornaments & hair of each deity should follow strict specifications. Only for Bhadrakali, a few renovations are allowed in attire & ornaments. The ultimate step is the breaking of coconuts in the range of three to 12,008 broken in sync with the rhythm set by Chenda players. The pay scale for the drawing artists is around 2000-3000 a day.