Aipan Art, Initiatives

Aipan Art—A Paragon of Age-Old Traditions

Art is an illustration of thoughts, of feelings. It can comprise of lines, shapes, gestures, colours, melodiesanything that is a manifestation of emotions and beliefs. It won’t be absurd to say that art evolved with humans, with their prismatic cultures and traditions. As societies developed, local traditions flared, which percolated to future generations through socialization.

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

One such form of expression is Aipan. It originated amidst the hills of Uttarakhand, in the dainty  Kumaon district. The geometric and rhythmic patterns are devotional, and some are even inspired by nature. Depiction of the several Hindu deities, representation of Goddess Lakshmi, motifs inspired from the village life, streams and rivers, and the protective Mountain Godseverything justifies Aipan as the embodiment of a rich cultural heritage.

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

“Aipan” is derivate of the Sanskrit word  “Arpan”, which means “to pigment.”  It is not only practiced during prayer ceremonies and festivals, but also drawn to adorn doorways and walls in Kumaoni households. True to the very essence of the word, Aipan is used to fill colours in routine and celebrate the muti-hued facets of life.
It is believed that Brahma, as The Creator, left an imprint of a woman on the Earth, which was the first form of Aipan. There is a mention of the art in The Ramayana as well. This only goes to show how ancient this harbinger of good fortune and prosperity is.

Traditional Kolam: Photo courtesy of
Traditional Kolam: Photo courtesy of

Variants of the art are practiced in different states of India, such as Alpana in Bengal, Satiya in Gujarat, Rangoli in Maharashtra, Pooran Chowki in Madhya Pradesh, Saanjhi in Uttar Pradesh, Bhuggul in Andhra Pradesh, and Marhana in Rajasthan. South India’s Kolam and Bihar’s Madhubani, Arichan and Kahjar are also forms of intricate, derivative patterns. Each form depicts stories in a unique manner, limning a distinct culture.

Art as a reflection of the environment and traditions becomes an important beholder of a culture altogether. And it becomes important to preserve its essence, to adapt it to contemporary times, and sustain it. Happily, in the present day, efforts are being made in this direction.

Enactus IPCW has taken up the cause of Aipanto bring the art form alive amidst the cluttered urban life.

Written by Arushi Sharma

Art, Initiatives, Revival

Aipan – The Dawn at Kumaon

Indian culture uncovers varied secrets about art aesthetics that invites auspiciousness and paints the field of creativity. Every colour used in a particular way, for a defined purpose, at an exact position attaches a deep meaning, rooted in the minds of generations. “These lines and dots depict a significant meaning.” – says one of the four women that currently comprises Project Aipan‘s target community.

Aipan is a Kumaoni form of art, replete with white dots, lines and patterns on a bright red base. The traditional white is the rice paste stamped delicately over the fresh red ground. The combination of the two most auspicious colours in the Indian context is a priceless and an inevitable part of any celebration and benediction.


Being the dawn of every Kumaoni household and the breath of every prayer, it is losing its life in a world webbed under the net of virtual world.

Are we losing a part of ourselves? Yes.

Are we missing on to something big? Yes.

Are we really not bothered to find happiness from small, precious things around us? Yes.

Our ancestors left the world with beauty all around, gifted us the charm of creativity that penetrates individual minds creating a vivid net. So, shouldn’t we make the world a better place instead of making a whole new world?

Contributed by Sonal Chanana

Read more about Project Aipan:

Art, Initiatives, Revival

Aipan – A Slice of Life from Kumaon

Is it possible to work out the life and death dichotomy? For a beauty that invokes life, death isn’t affordable.

AIPAN – that enchanted art, is a seductive amalgamation of a fiery red and the epitome of tranquility, White. The art form is brought forth by intricately woven patterns infused with the love of the housewives, who are born with a skill no less a fetish.

The art form was born in Uttarakhand, amidst the hills and valleys of Kumaon and is practiced widely by the natives. It has transgressed onto the generations but sadly, this art form which adorned their houses is now left with nobody to carry forward the legacy.


The traditional Aipan is a rice paste (white) that’s patterned onto the red base called geru (red).
“Every motif has a unique significance”, a Kumaoni lady artist, now a Delhite, speaks. It is life that they draw into the base, not just patterns.

Kumaoni people and artists migrated in huge numbers to bigger towns for better prospects, in a way, leaving behind their harbinger of luck, the very creation itself. They have moved on while forgetting this beautiful art in the bargain. The question here is, are we somehow also not responsible to save it?

To bring life to this almost occult beauty, we at ENACTUS IPCW aim to serve a twin objective–by adopting this grave issue as our project, we are not only gifting our hills and nation back what’s ours, but also uplifting Kumaoni societies using what’s theirs to save them their pride.

Contributed by Pankhuri Gupta

More about Project Aipan: