Floral delight

Floral delight

A rangoli is a colourful design displayed as a sign of welcoming the guests. Although Maharashtrian in origin, Rangoli is practiced all over India. The term Rangoli is derived from ‘Rang’ (colour) and avalli (a row of colours), and is usually made out of coloured rice powder. But in Thane, people are talking about a unique kind rangoli – one that is made not out of rice powder, but a variety of flowers.

The floral-rangoli is a practice that was started in August 1999, by the Marathe Family, which runs the Y V Marathe Jewellers, one of the oldest jewellery showrooms of Thane. Lighting the diya (a small lamp of flames) is a popular practice among Indians. The glowing diya is held sacred in Indian culture. So when, the Marathes renovated their showroom situated near Kopaneshwar Mandir, the family found themselves in a dilemma. Shantanu Marathe, one of the proprietors, says, "The practice of lighting the diya everyday was important. Yet, the black fumes emanating from the flames were harmful to gold and other jewellery displayed in the showroom. We wanted to preserve the culture and at the same time, we were worried about damage to our expensive jewellery". Soon the family came up with an innovative solution to preserve the cultural significance of the Diya. Instead of lighting up the Diya, they decided to decorate the flame holder with a rangoli of flowers.

The floral-rangoli quickly became popular among the showroom patrons and visitors.   "The arrangement of flowers is simply beautiful. What’s more, the rangoli designs are never repeated," says Shweta Phadke, one of Y V Marathe’s regular customers, who seems visibly in awe of the floral-rangoli. Indeed, the rangoli design has not been repeated even once, since it began in August 1999, the only exceptions being August 15 and January 26 of every year, when the National Flag is created out of flowers.

The three people in charge of creating this rangoli are Ram Jadhav, Abhijit Patil and Krishna Advilkar. Every morning, one of them spends about half an hour to create the designs. They use Marigold, Aster, Rose, Lotus, Lily, Carnations and other seasonal flowers. "We always use fresh flowers, even if the flowers from the previous day’s arrangement are still fresh-looking; after all, it’s like a prayer to us," says Jadhav. They enjoy their routine of arranging the flowers and are thrilled when people appreciate their art. There have been many instances of visitors inquiring about the arrangement and also inviting them to demonstrate the art.

So how do you they manage to keep the designs from repeating day after day? "The inspiration is magical and inexplicable. Some higher energy flows into us when we are creating the rangoli of flowers. That’s the only explanation," says Jadhav. Now we know why the rangolis are so beautiful. God’s creations can’t be otherwise.

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