The feeling of nature is extremely vivid in the Indian world, streams and rivers bear female names, the earth itself is described as a beautiful woman. Trees, creepers, seasons, birds and animals are personified and deified so nothing surprising in that they maintain close relationships with humans.

Free translation from my book «Voyage dans l’imaginaire Indien, Kôlam, dessins éphémères des femmes tamoules » Editions Geuthner.

Indian sculptures abound with floral motifs: aquatic plants, flowers or floral garlands adorn columns, capitals or bas-reliefs.

Flowers, trees and their leaves are described using poetical metaphors in pastoral and romantic literature. Here a Sangam Tamil poem by Vittrutu Mutheyinanara. According to scholars, the most acceptable range for this literature spanned from c. 300-BCE to 300-CE. " The wedding day" speaks of the preparation of a young woman for her marriage:

...My girl was given a bridal bath and the women who bathed her stood gazing at her form with wide open, wonderstruck eyes. And then departed.
Wearing an amulet made of the forked leaves, which have dull undersides, of the soft-flowered vagai and leaves of arugu, growing wild in pits browsed by matured calves,
And the sweet smelling buds of pavai, that sprouted in the first monsoon rain that came with thunder, whose petals of blue resemble neatly washed sapphire stones, bound together with a withe thread, she looked resplendent and lovable in her wedding dress....

M.L.Thangappa, Love stands alone, Penguin Books, 2010


In India, flowers and leaves from certain trees or plants are an essential part of religious ceremonies and non religious events and this is why real or imaginary flowers abound in kolam. They are drawn in an infinite variety of ways, offering to explore either the symbolic aspect of the plant or the abstract potential of the form.

Pondicherry 2012
Vedapureeswarar temple in Pondicherry
Madurai 1980
Mylapore, 2016
Roses on Pongal, Mylapore