Kolam and Cognition
Awareness Self Help

Kolam and Cognition


As you walk through the charming lanes of southern India, you can’t help but be amazed by the elaborate geometric designs that grace each doorway. This traditional craft, called Kolam, entails utilizing rice flour to create ornamental patterns. Kolam is known as rangoli in various other parts of the country. From kambi Kolam to pulli Kolam, each type weaves a cultural tapestry that reflects regional identity and seasonal themes.

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It has a lineage stretching back over 2500 BCE, that has adorned doorsteps with intricate rice flour designs (Renuka, 2016). Beyond its cultural richness, contemporary insights illuminate the multifaceted cognitive process embedded within this traditional practice. Recent discoveries show that Kolam is like a brain workout, giving us many modern benefits.

Kolam was a daily ritual but these days it has become a piece of decoration for occasional celebrations (Kumari, 2018). Kolams are the modern form of Kolams. Kolams revolve around dots, lines and curves whereas Kolams are freestyle involving abstract ideas using numerous colours.

It is a matter of wonder that the art forms like mandala, and yantra are evolved from Kolam and these patterns are used in building temples and houses (Hudson 2008; Tucci 1973). Kolam is associated with out daily life in everything made which has shapes and patterns in them. Kolam has always been an inspiration form numerous inventions.

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The Cultural Tapestry of Kolam

  1. Beyond Aesthetics: Kolam, a vibrant and detailed Indian art form, transcends mere aesthetics. Its deep cultural and symbolic meanings are intertwined with spiritual rites, acting as a conduit for cosmic energy and a medium for expressing thoughts during meditation (Ramachandran, 2021).
  2. Seasonal Showcase: With patterns changing across states and seasons, Kolam and Kolam become a canvas reflecting cultural identity. Communities come together to build elaborate designs, symbolizing cooperation during celebratory festivals. Social, Cultural, and Spiritual Unity. Kolam isn’t merely an artwork. It’s a social, cultural, and spiritual activity that unifies various facets of Indian culture, creating a welcoming gesture at home doors for both guests and gods (Majumdar, 2020).

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Objectives and Views

  1. Religious Significance: According to popular belief, Kolam welcomes goddess Lakshmi and so promotes a spiritual bond.
  2. Feeding Nature’s Inhabitants: Some people make Kolam as an offering to ants and other insects, fostering a healthy relationship with the surrounding ecosystem, in addition to its aesthetic value (Ramachandran, 2021).

Cognitive advantages of Kolam

Let’s concentrate on the advantages of Kolam in the present era. Aside from all of these, would you trust me if I tell you that thinking skills may be improved by practicing Kolam on a daily basis? Yes, Kolam is really advantageous to each of us mentally.

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Let’s unravel the ensnared wealth. Kolam addresses cognitive components like planning, concentration, attention, and perception, and even activates a number of other executive processes. Kolam aids in the development of both fine and gross motor skills, which promotes holistic development. Consistency, perseverance, habit development, openness, mindfulness, encouraging creative intelligence, and many other psychosocial aspects are covered by Kolam.

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Let’s examine the brain and how it relates to Kolam in order to provide a scientific explanation for these advantages. Neurological Benefits The neurons that make up the cerebellum are responsible for controlling balance, general motor behaviour, and muscle activity (Mani, 2023).

Drawing Kolam, which involves pinching powder and creating dots and lines, develops the motor coordination strengths in neurons. The brain’s frontal lobe is linked to abilities including focus, planning, reasoning, memory, problem-solving, and motor control. Higher-order functions are stimulated through planning and deciding to choose the design and drawing through it. The dots are looked at as problems and the lines through them are the goal (Mani,2023).

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There has been a number of uses and benefits of Kolam in areas such as mathematics and architecture. Concepts such as knot theory, and graph theory are the analysis of various patterns in Kolam (Ishimoto,2007). In designing the plan for constructing the house, Kolams have made a great contribution (Supriya, 2023).

Similarly, there are a great number of psychological benefits of Kolam. Let’s check them out.
  • Eye-hand Coordination: The visual and motor systems combine together and enable concentration in us. This coordination of eye and hand increases concentration when we draw the geometrical curves through the dots (Supriya, 2023).
  • Sensation, Attention, Memory and Perception: Maintaining sustained attention and procedural memory are stimulated when learning the precise number of dots, the lines that pass through them, and the geometric shapes. While creating the creative Kolam, the tasks of choosing the appropriate design, arranging the size to be drawn, and making special adjustments are engaged. The ability of the senses is improved by the integration of several sensory systems, including the tactile, visual, and kinesthetic senses. The ability to form a bond with the material they work with will be enhanced by touching and investigating the powder’s consistency. The act of manipulating and engaging with the powder on the ground enhances synaptic connections in the somatosensory cortex (Mani, 2023).
  • Executive Functioning: The benefits of drawing Kolam include improving different executive functioning abilities. Kolam aids in impulse control since it requires the maker to carefully consider the appropriate quantity of dots and lines to be drawn through each one before beginning. As a result, frequent Kolam practice would foster the capacity for deliberation before acting.
  • Managing and regulating emotions: Emotional control is triggered by Kolam as it stimulates the amygdala. These days, it’s critical to have emotional awareness and regulation because we interact with a wide range of people, environments, and circumstances that could lead to emotional outbursts. Kolam practice is a way for us to cultivate mindfulness. This activity has a calming and relaxing impact. Kolam, a mindful exercise, promotes relaxation and lowers stress levels.
  • Psychological Flexibility: Thinking flexibly is necessary when drawing Kolam since one must be mindful of the changes in dots and lines within the restricted area. Changing colours according to the design is also crucial. Creating new Kolam on a daily basis requires planning and task initiating. Setting priorities and making plans for routine processes. Kolam facilitates decision-making, which is one of the essential elements of higher-order functioning. The power to choose patterns, designs, colours, and spatial arrangements would also transfer to daily decision-making. Missing dots in the Kolam could ruin its beauty, nevertheless, tolerating flaws and imperfections is a skill that encourages problem-solving as you challenge and recreate the pattern (Mani, 2023).
  • Theoretical Background: Kolam contains the components of Specific intelligence mentioned by Howard Gardner. Kolam portrays ideas and stories using Kolam, which covers linguistic intelligence. Kolams are intricate geometric patterns and symmetries. Drawing Kolams is a traditional art form that provides a comprehensive method to mathematical intelligence. The planning and imagery needed to produce symmetrical and harmonious designs sharpen spatial intelligence. Even though it has nothing to do with music, the meditative and rhythmic aspects of creating Kolams help develop musical intelligence by fostering a sense of harmony and rhythm. Hand-eye coordination and dexterity are improved by the complex hand movements and fine motor abilities required in the process, which promote bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Interpersonal intelligence is fostered through collaborative Kolam drawing, which encourages good communication, cooperation, and empathy. This practice’s contemplative and meditative elements encourage self-expression and introspection, which develops intrapersonal intelligence. Certain Kolam designs, which draw inspiration from nature, promote naturalistic intelligence by fostering awareness and admiration of the natural world. Furthermore, reflecting on the cultural and spiritual meaning of Kolams at the time of their production fosters existential intelligence and inspires people to ponder more profound existential and philosophical issues.

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Why should kids practice Kolam?

People who practice Kolam generally maintain notebooks where they have patterns drawn and coloured. They transfer their ideas to others through the notebook. The older generation has always wanted us to learn the good that nature has given. Kids were let to practice this art even from a very early age.

For kids, drawing Kolams or Kolams can be a fun and imaginative task that helps them reach a number of developmental milestones. The traditional art can benefit a child’s development in a number of ways. The finely detailed designs call for modest, exact motions. Fine motor abilities are developed when kids pick up and arrange coloured powders or other objects. It promotes the growth of dexterity while handling small objects, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor abilities. In the case of cognitive development, planning and executing the design requires cognitive skills including spatial awareness, pattern recognition, and problem-solving.

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Attained developmental milestones include enhanced cognitive abilities including creativity, critical thinking, and spatial intelligence. They are inspired to experiment with various hues, forms, and designs, which fosters their creativity and imagination.

As kids collaborate to finish the design, collaborative creation promotes cooperation and communication, social skills, and peer communication effectiveness. Understanding cultural symbols and establishing a link to one’s past are two benefits of learning about the traditional and cultural aspects of making Kolams or Kolams. Women were and are the gender who are encouraged to make Kolam but after knowing the benefits of it, every kid irrespective of gender should be encouraged to practice Kolam. Along with the strengthening of developmental milestones, the kids inculcate a strong sense of self and cultural understanding.

Patience and Persistence

As kids learn to overcome obstacles and disappointments, finishing a comprehensive design calls for both of these qualities. Increased ability to handle difficult jobs and greater endurance and patience. Young kid’s senses are stimulated when they are exposed to a range of textures, colours, and objects. Talking about the design, exchanging ideas, and expressing opinions about the final product help to create language (Mani, 2023).


We find ourselves at the journey of tradition and modernity as we trace the complex path of Kolam and its cognitive surprises. The ageless art form of Kolam has braided cultural tales, improved mental capacities, and created a special bond between the person and their environment. An appeal to maintain Kolam’s authenticity arises as we rejoice in its many advantages.

In a day when expediency frequently wins out over custom, the significance of drawing Kolam the traditional way—that is, by pinching rice flour between your fingers—is unmatched. Therefore, all are suggested to choose the age-old Kolam method over stickers and rollers, we are fighting for the survival of a cognitive tradition as well as the survival of a lovely artistic endeavour. We must preserve the enchantment of touch and camaraderie that come with traditional Kolam.

Let the beautiful patterns that adorn our doors serve as a continual reminder of our dedication to preserving cultural heritage and promoting mental health. Kolam tradition is a celebration of the past, an investment in the present, and a gift to the future. It goes beyond simple choice.

References +
  • Ascher, M. (2002). The Kolam Tradition: A tradition of figure-drawing in southern India expresses mathematical ideas and has attracted the attention of computer science. American Scientist, 90(1), 56-63.
    Ishimoto, Y. (2007). Solving infinite Kolam in knot theory. arXiv preprint arXiv:0710.1976.
  • Kumar, A. (2018, July 3). Significance of Kolam in Tamil Culture. Sahapedia. Retrieved from https://www.sahapedia.org/significance-of-Kolam-tamil-culture.
  • Majumdar, M. (2020, January 16). Exploring centuries of Kolams. The Hindu. Retrieved from https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/exploring-centuries-of-indias-traditional-Kolams/article30573492.ece.
  • Mani, B. (2023, july 18). fine-motor-skills-development-through-Kolam-enhancing-precision-and-creativity/. Retrieved from Kolam podu: https://www.Kolampodu.com/2023/07/18/fine-motor-skills-development-through-Kolam-enhancing-precision-and-creativity/.
    Roy Abhishu.2014.Traditional Knowledge Documentation: Kolam A Visual culture of Southern India. Report submitted by D.J Academy of Design, Coimbatore.pp.1-34
  • Smit Auke.( 2013). The Art of Longing & Belonging: Kolam as a Reflection of Women’s Complex Relations with Identity and Power in Contemporary India. A Master Thesis in Cultural Anthropology. Universiteit Utrecht.
  • Supriya. (2023 ), Kolam as a Psychological Device. The Curious Conversationalist. Retrieved from https://thecuriousconversationalist.in/:
  • Thirumurthy, V., & Simic-Muller, K. (2012). Kolam: A mathematical treasure of south India. Childhood Education, 88(5), 309-314.
  • Thomas, A. S. (2023, October 19). Evolution of Indian aesthetics: From ancient to contemporary art forms. Medium. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@ameerasara2000/evolution-of-indian-aesthetics-from-ancient-to-contemporary-art-forms-5358776ee786.

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