Holi, the festival of colours, is here, and people across the country are all set to celebrate. But the use of synthetic colours can affect revellers’ skin, eyes, hair and even the environment. As more people turn to celebrate Holi in a more traditional manner, using just gulaal, there has been a surge in the demand for organic or natural colours.
But have you ever wondered how these colours are made? This Holi, you can see how the herbal colours are extracted from natural ingredients like flowers, leaves, fruit peels and much more.
In a series of photos shot on iPhone, Apple is highlighting how a group of women living in a small village outside Udaipur are making these colours to keep the festival safe and eco-friendly. While most dyes and colours used during Holi are produced in factories using synthetic products, these natural colours are meticulously handmade by these women. Their work ensures traditional methods of creating these vibrant powders from delicate flowers, fruits and trees are preserved.
While colours like orange are made using dried marigolds and flame of the forest (palash), turmeric is used to make yellow colour. For pink, the women use roses and throw in some beetroot if a darker shade is needed.
Every morning, these women harvest flowers and plants to extract their pigment and create handmade powdered dyes from scratch – a method used by many generations before them. Once segregated and cut, the natural flowers and leaves are boiled to extract the colour. The liquid pigment is then mixed with rice flour, corn flour or gram flour (besan) to create a grainy texture and set out in the shed to dry. The tedious and meticulous process takes days, while the beautiful flowers are turned into powdered colours.
Given the increasing awareness about the dangers of synthetic colours, there has been a rise in the number of stores and vendors selling organic gulaals over the years. Will you be celebrating this Holi using organic colours?