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Hindu worship can be broadly classified into three – deity in temples, offerings into fire of Homam and colourful forms called Padmam. Deities can be of metal, stone or wood.  Here, Padmam has equal significance with the other two.  No need to have lamps / deities in such poojas.  Vedic, Tantric and Mantric are three types of Padma Pooja.  Folklore Arts – such as Kalam Ezhuthum Paattum also use such colourful designs as a part of the performance ritual.

The book Thanthra Samuchayam (Ch 12, line 48) is explaining the philosophy behind making of Padmam in detail.  The Mandap (place of the Pooja) is cleaned and decorated well before starting to draw the Padmam. White, red, black, Yellow and Green are the colours used for Padmam. White is Rice Powder. Yellow is from turmeric powder. Red is made with turmeric powder and lime. Rice husk is burned and powdered to get black colour. The leaves of Vaka tree is used to get Green colour.

The five basic elements are represented by these colours.  Yellow for earth, white for water, red for fire, green for air and black for the sky. These elements are considered as the foundation of the physical world. The same way, the colurs also form the Three characteristics of the world – White represents Satvik, Red for Rajas and Black for Thamasic qualities.      

Padmams are also classified in Thantric, Manthric and Vaidic rituals. In Thantric and Vaidic rituals, 7 major forms of Gods are represented – Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, Sankaranarayana, Subrahmania, Ganapathy and Sastha. Chakrabja Padmam is for Vishnu which is the largest and most beautiful.  SakthiDand for Durga, ShanDalam for Subrahmania, Bhadraka for others. And thus there are 4 types of Padmam designs.

Apart from the above, there are two types of SvastikaBhadraka Padmam for Kalsam and SayyaPadmam.  There are another 41 types of Padmam in Thantric Kalasam rituals. VasthuBali Padmam which is drawn in connection with the ritual for housewarming is a type of Thantric Padmam.  Padmam designs in connection with Homam are among Vaidc Rituals. GrahaSanthi Padmam is one of the major ones in this category.   

Thanthric Padmam

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