Bringing kavadis to life in rangoli colours

Finishing touches: Selvakumar preparing some of the kavadis at Pangsapuri sri Impian in Lengkok Angsana, Bandar Baru Farlim in Penang.

GEORGE TOWN: V. Selvakumar creates kavadis in bright “rangoli” colours to reflect the religious and joyful Thaipusam festival.

Rangoli is an art form, originating in the Indian subcontinent, where colourful patterns are created using materials such as coloured rice, dry flour, coloured sand or flower petals.

Selvakumar, who has been making kavadis for more than 20 years, uses a minimum of three colours and designs the decorations on the kavadis such as peacocks made out of polystyrene on his own.

The 45-year-old courier company worker designs and makes kavadis as a hobby, and each year, takes orders for about 20 kavadis.

“I accept orders until a month before Thaipusam and work with six of my friends, ” he said at Pangsapuri Impian Bandar Baru, Ayer Itam where he and his friends were putting the finishing touches to the kavadis.

He also said that it took some time for him to make the kavadis as the polystyrene was very fragile and could break easily if not handled carefully.

Selvakumar said he usually promoted his kavadis on Facebook and Instagram where he got his orders.

“My kavadis are usually custom-made, including the paintings of Lord Muruga.

“My friends are the ones who help me make the fittings, ” he said, adding that he charged according to the size of the kavadis, woodwork and the decorative items used.

Selvakumar started his hobby doing oil paintings and portraits for weddings before venturing into kavadi-making.

He also said that after completing the kavadis, he and his friends usually take them to the Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple in Lorong Kulit on Thaipusam eve where kavadi bearers will perform and observe certain rituals before carrying the kavadis the next day.

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