Another popular story is that
God, in one of his creative episodes, extracted the juice from
one of the mango trees as paint, and drew the figure of a
woman so beautiful that it put the heavenly maidens to shame.
Chola rulers made extensive use of floor paintings. They are
known by different names in different parts of the country;
Alpana in Bengal, Aripana in Bihar, Madana in Rajasthan,
Rangoli in Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra, Chowkpurana in
Uttar Pradesh and Kolam in Kerala and Tamilnadu, Muggu in
Andhrapradesh. Some of these, especially many of the North
Indian ones like Aalpana more often refer to floor painting
with traditional wet color, rather than the powder rangoli
more conventional in south India.
Rangoli in front of house during Pongal
Like Hindu and Buddhist Mandalas, the reason for using powder
or sand as a medium for creating Rangoli (and its resulting
fragility) is sometimes thought to be a metaphor for the
impermanence of life and maya.