Sikku kolam - small and simple designs

Sikku kolam is unique to kolam designs of Tamil Nadu.  Sikku means knot.  It is obvious that one can get tied up in knots when one tries this type of kolam.  Actually the designs posted so far are very simple.  They can be more complicated. 
 Who ever discovered or invented this variety of kolam, it is a good exercise for the brain not that other varieties are anything less.  The final design is usually symmetrical when viewed from any direction.  The difference between this type and those with dots is that while in kolam with dots we use up the dots to form a pattern where as in this type it is drawn around the dots. Of course they can be left plain or colours can be added. 
 Some are completed in stages and as a result each stage can have a different colour giving a totally different effect to the kolam. 
 It is possible to draw them with two parallel lines also if we want to make it more difficult for ourselves! Start from the outside and move towards the centre as against from the centre towards the outside in case of free hand kolam. There are can be many methods to draw them, we have to find the easy or if possible the easiest way through experience.
 This can also be combined with a free hand design. 

It is also called neli kolam or kambi kolam. Some of the simplest sikku kolam designs are given below for reference. A collection of small sikku kolam and so they are simple too.

sikku-kolam-1.jpg   In any art, there should be liberty for innovation.  So this post has been updated with the following colourful neli kolam designs.  They are from the kolam designs below but have been drawn with two colours both lines drawn simultaneously.   This method has been uploaded in my YouTube channel and using this method I am updating posts where ever possible with some special kolam designs. Drawing neli kolam with parallel lines is difficult but common.  So to try something different, these two designs.                                                                  


                                                                         The lines have been drawn with green and yellow colours.   How to pick the colours and how to draw the lines  refer to the video in the Rangolisansdots my YouTube Channel       The two images in black and white (below ) show us how to draw the kolam below. The two images above show the steps with usual white kolam powder. Probably this and some sikku kolam designs are similar to celtic wire designs for jewellery and resemble some patterns the only difference being that these are drawn with kolam powder while they are made with wires.  This us another proof that there are many beautiful art forms in this world and that they have all contributed to the beauty of our world.



The rangoli on the top has a simple sikku kolam at the centre of dots pattern 5 to 3 ( shown in the previous kolk ).  The kolam has been surrounded by a simple rangoli border with two lines.  The gap between the kolam and border has been filled with some spiral motifs.  The central design has been filled with brown and pink colours and the inner most design is filled with blue colour. to give a different effect.  The border has been filled with blue colours as also the other motifs. The gaps between the spiral patterns is filled with some simple circular designs.  Finally the outer border has some simple designs running perpendicular to the lines. Place the dots again in the sikku kolam after the colours are applied.I wrote that rangolis with dots and those without dots have their own appeal and  beauty. Hence I have tried to combine both in the rangoli design above.                
neli-kolam-1.jpgThough the lines appear to be knotted in the image below it may rank among the simplest sikku kolam designs.  First the dot grid it is a simple seven by seven dot template.  Then add the six rhombus like shapes using four dots for each so all them appear interlocked.  The remaining dots can be used to draw a curved snake like continuous pattern and the result the neli kolam below.

This chikku / kambi kolam design  with a 7 by 7 dot pattern and the method is also very simple but two colour combination drawn simultaneously needs some practice.
.  While we can draw kolam with parallel lines, picking of two colours for these designs is the trick to be taught or learnt.  Tips for how to pick the colours and draw parallel lines with two different colours are also there in the link 'sikku kolam designs ' (knotted designs ) given above. Two intermediate steps for the sikku kolam for a Deepavali special kolam  in the images below



For the kolam on the top the dot pattern is 9 in 5 rows and 5 in two rows. While some sikku kolam designs are easy this one can not be considered to be easy and we can go wrong even with practice.  Two images showing stages of the kolam. It is easier to split the kolam into patterns as shown in the images to make drawing such designs simpler.


For the kolam on the top. The dot pattern is 7 at the centre, two rows of 5 on either side and then 1 on either side. There may be methods simple and difficult to draw these kolams, to start and end the meandering line. The images below show intermediate steps.


 For the kolam on the top that has another non-standard dot pattern the dot grid is placed as follows, 5, 4 (idukku pulli), 5,3 and 1.  Then 3 and 1 at the top.



This kolam on the top has a non-standard dot pattern as is the case of many sikku kolam or neli kolam designs.  The idea is get a final image that has some symmetry.  Hence the dot pattern for the kolam on the right  is 6 and 6  with three dots between any two dots of the six dot line.  Then four dots on either side and finally two dots.  One dot is placed between four and two dots. Two images showing the intermediate steps for this sikku kolam have been added
 For the kolam on the left that has another non-standard dot pattern the dot grid is placed as follows, 5, 4 (idukku pulli), 5,3 and 1.  Then 3 and 1 at the top.

neli-kolam-4.jpgsikku-kolam-5.jpgIn this type of design and also in many other designs variations are possible.  After all sky is the limit for our imagination.  One such variation of this sikku kolam design is shown below.  Add lotus patterns on all four sides of the kolam and add a few colours, pink in this colours because the pink is usually associated with lotus.  There are quite a few  that have lotus as theme in lotus rangoli designs                                                 
The dot template is 7 at the centre and 5, 7 and 3 on either side for the sikku kolam on the left

It is quite normal to see designs like 3 an 4 shown above drawn at the entrances of houses in Tamil Nadu.  Bigger kolam designs are drawn for festivals and other special occasions

The next neli kolam is also quite a common, simple and easy neli kolam.  The important characteristic of this type of neli kolam is that it can be drawn in various sizes by increasing the dot grid.  The result we can draw a very small kolam with three dots or bigger kolam with 5,7,9 dots and so on.  This design has been drawn with a dot pattern as shown.  Place three rows of 5 dots each.  Then place 4,3,2 and 1 dot on either side ( idukku pulli ).  For 7 dots kolam place three rows of 7 dots with 6 to 1 dot on either side as idukku pulli.
First draw the outermost twisted pattern connecting the topmost and bottom most dots.  Then draw the four lines on either side.  Finally connect the top and bottom lines through curved lines as shown.  The result is a small but cute sikku kolam.



The next neli kolam uses a five by five dot grid.  One of the simplest neli or chikku kolam designs because the dot grid used is square and also because there more straight lines than most neli kolangal.
The images show the completed design and an intermediate step.  The outer designs are similar to lamps.  We can change them according to our imagination or can continue the kolam around the four outer dots too.

Neli kolam or chikku kolam or suzhi kolam

It is a classical Tamil  kolam because I think it is practised only in Tamil Nadu. One of the common kolam designs underr the pulli vecha kolam designs of Tamil Nadu.
Sikku kolam is also called neli kolam ( melikala muggulu )  One of the meanings of neli in Tamil is wriggle or twist. Probably because of the twisted nature of the kolam sikku kolam is also called neli kolam.   My father-in-law used to quote from literature - a rose by any other name smells as sweet.    Similarly sikku or neli kolam they are unique in kolam patterns and are beautiful and challenging.  Even the simplest designs can be challenging at least the first time. The kolam below the first in this series. The dot pattern is 7-5-3-1 with 5-3-1 on either side of 7 dots.  The first image shows the beginning of the kolam and the second image shows the continuation of the kolam.  Like any other dotted kolam there may be easier methods. This is quite a common neli kolam design and is found drawn at the entrance.  It can be drawn with parallel lines also.



The next neli kolam is with a 5 by 5 dot grid with one dot at the centre outside the grid on all four sides.  The images below show three steps to the final design. The first image shows upto a certain level of the kolam and the second image continuation.  Though it is possible to decide how to draw this kolam by concentrating on the path taken by the lines - two images - thumbnails from the video taken for this kolam has been added.



The next neli kolam is also with a 5 by 5 dot grid but instead of four single dots on four sides outside the dot grid in this kolam we have only two more dots one at the top and one at the bottom  As usual two photos showing the intermediate steps in this simple kolam that can be drawn as "daily kolam design " at the entrance.

This category or variety of kolam designs are used daily at the entrance.  If  one watches a lady or girl drawing kolam it can be observed that she carries the kolam powder in a plastic or metallic container after washing the entrance with water, pauses to think , two fingers taking out a pinch of kola powder trying to decide what kolam she would draw for the day.  If she is not able to decide among the many designs she knows, she bends to draw a simple design.  The one below is one such design that is quite commonly used.
The dot pattern used is 5 by 3 with one dot on either side.  


This neli kolam design is also a very simple and straight forward kolam with 5 by 5 dot pattern.  This can be drawn independently as a kolam at the entrance or can be a part of a kolam using these patterns at the corners called the kulam kolam ( pond kolam ). Neli kolam are also called suzhi kolam. Suzhi means loop or ring.  It may also mean zero. Since neli kolam results in the formation of loops (probably ) it is called so too.


 Many smaller and symmetric ( sikku kolam or symmetric ) neli kolam can be combined repeatedly to form bigger kolam - the pond kolam is an example.  Even the pond or kulam kolam can be made bigger and bigger depending upon the space and time available.  Such kolam can be drawn for the month of kolam - Margazhi.

Neli kolam or sikku kolam are drawn frequently for daily kolam designs.  The simplest of them with 3 , 4 or 5 dots can be drawn where space is a constraint.  One such simple design with a 4 by 4 dot pattern with two images showing how the line curves in and out to get the final beautiful symmetrical design.



Kolam borders can also be drawn using neli kolam aka chikku kolam patterns.  One example is shown through three images.  Three rows of dots are placed.  The number of dots in each row will be odd in number since the pattern repeats after 1-3, 3-5, 5-7 and so on. As shown in the image draw the repeating rhombus like patterns covering 1 to 3, 3 to 5  etc.  Then draw the neli kolam patterns using up the dots in the upper and lower rows.


 This design has a dot pattern 7,7,5,3,1 as shown.  The kolam is drawn around the dots. Start with the fourth dot at the bottom. The line connects this dot, the one at the top and the second and fourth dot in the third row.  The remaining dots are used to get symmetric patterns to the left and right of the centre.    In case of doubt please visit Rangolisansdots - my YouTube channel to know the method.  I have decorated the finished kolam with a lotus and lamps. During my recent visit to Karnataka, I was humbled to see simple yet beautiful kolam drawn at the entrance of many homes, big and small.  It also made me very happy that this tradition is continuing to flourish in many parts of our country.



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