Chalk Paintings

from the village of

in the state of
Andhra Pradesh, India



For festival occasions, the women of Andhra Pradesh smooth out the earth of the village square, and create vivid, spontaneous designs using colored chalk.

This art form exists only in the village -- by its very nature, it only lasts a few days until the next rain or wind comes along to wash it away.

So you have to go to Parvatapur to see it -- or you can get a good impression of these beautiful designs by watching the short digital video on this Web page.

click on this image to see a short video, with music, of the chalk paintings:

or to see some high-resolution stills of this lovely artwork, click on this image:

The chalk paintings are called "Muggulu" in Telugu, the common language of Andhra Pradesh.There are many festivals associated with chalk paintings. During harvest period, which generally falls in January, there is a big festival in Andhra Pradesh called Sankranti. Unmarried girls make chalk paintings in front of their houses; every home will have a unique image.

Girls spend a lot of time learning how to create these designs. They are based on the principle of connecting dots. The chalk paintings in Parvatapur have a special character, different from those seen anywhere else.

To learn more about Muggulu and the Sankranti festival, click here:

Cow dung is used to make the earth smooth, so that the paintings appear clearly. Ornamental decoration is done with flowers, kumkum, and haldi. Cow dung is first shaped in balls and placed on the designs; each ot the balls has a flower on top, decorated with three colors: red (kumkum) yellow (haldi) and white (rice powder).

Girls dance around the paintings and sing songs, which typically wish for a nice husband. They swing on special swings made for the occasion, hanging from big trees, and toward evening the dung balls are hit on trees. They dry in the course of time and are stored as fuel for home cooking fires. During late February, there is another festival in which cow's milk, new rice and jaggery is cooked over slow fires and offered to the sun.

This aspect of Telugu culture teaches humility, and the cycle of life itself, to young women. Making the chalk paintings takes a girl through the process of preparing fuel for warmth and sustenance, ornamenting it and celebrating its beauty, preparing the fuel for use and then cooking with it to sustain the family.

The accompanying music was recorded live for Greenstar in Parvatapur by students from a university in Hyderabad, direct to digital disk, using solar power.

Click here [][][][][][] for more information on Andhra Pradesh.

If you need help with downloading or viewing this video, you may need to install or update QuickTime on your system. Click the Quicktime logo below for help.

photographs by Maharshi Pingali, for Greenstar India
© copyright 2001, the Mandel of Parvatapur, Andhra Pradesh