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South India Street Painting
Street painting festivals, popular throughout the world, take on a whole new meaning here in South India. Visit Chennai on the 9th through 12th of January and become entranced by the many art forms celebrated at the city's annual Mylapore Festival. The streets are flooded with colorful saris and the ladies of the city, bent at the waist, carefully execute choreographed, and perfectly symmetrical drawings with rice flour. These Kolams are traditionally drawn daily outside of homes and businesses in the Southern region of Tamil Nadu to assure prosperity and even to feed small critters of the neighborhood. The festival also includes traditional dance, theatre and food and is located in the streets surrounding the Kapaleeswarar temple in Chennai. The Kolam competition lasts for two days, but the rice flour drawings (and critters) have been known to hang around for a day or so more.
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