There are several types of Pongal Kolam designs.
There are line kolams, where there is the free hand drawing of lines to
make a geometrical pattern. Pulli (dots) are arranged in a specific
sequence and order & these pullis are joined to make pictorial
designs. In the pulli kolam type, there is an another type of forming
twisted chains by linking one loop with the next & forming wonderful
designs with the basic pattern. This is called Chuzhi kolam.
The kolam is drawn with a variety of materials
such as rice powder, rice paste, marble powder, colored powders, leaves
and flowers. The kolam basically consists of dots and lines that
together form a meaningful design. Usually, a grid of dots numbering
from 4 to 108 is used for drawing the kolam. The points are joined with
straight and curved lines or else, the lines go round the points
resulting in a design consisting exclusively of curved lines.
Plates, Boxes are available with the designs etched with holes
provided. When this is filled with kolam powder & tapped on the
ground, you have a lovely kolam. Rollers are also available. With these
you can just roll it & draw the basic lines, & use your
imagination to execute a kolam of your choice.
The Sankranti Rath (chariot) is a typical Pongal kolam. The ropes of
the rath are supposed to be kept open till on the next day they are
joined from house to house to symbolize a collective desire to realize
an uninterrupted cosmic cycle. There are quite a few innovative designs
such as an elephant, one with a carpet design, Pongal designs with
sugarcane and overflowing pots and complex geometric patterns with
messages of 'Happy Pongal', 'Welcome' and 'Thank You'.