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Rajasthani mandana to welcome Lord Shiva to bless homes and hearths on Maha Shivaratri
In Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana, mandanas as wall and floor paintings are drawn to protect home and hearth, welcome Gods and Goddesses into the house and as a mark of auspicious beginning of celebrations on festive and religious occasions. Earlier, the tradition of mandana paintings was common on Maha Shivaratri, however, this tradition can be still seen in interior villages and tribal areas.

On Maha Shivaratri, there is tradition of drawing mandanas in the morning showing motifs related to the festival in simple line drawing to make an auspicious beginning. These wall floor paintings are done mainly by women folk red ochre background and use of lime paste to draw the related motifs of the occasion.  The common folk motifs for Maha Shivaratri have the trident, snake and three leaves of Belpatra.

The ground is prepared on the wall or floor of the threshold of the house with cow dung, local pond clay and red ochre or geru. Earlier, we used to draw the motif with lime paste, but now we use chalk powder paste. The brush is made from the twig of a tree or plant.

In the inset picture, the design of a common mandana of Maha Shivaratri with three squares has been shown with a trident, third eye, two snakes, Swastika, and three leaves on each corner of the outer square. The space around the squares has been filled and decorated with dots / circles and lines.

The inset picture shows a Rajasthani mandana which one can draw at the threshold of the house to make an auspicious beginning of the festival.

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