The herbal colors made from the ‘Palash’ flower (Butea monosperma) by women self-help groups in several Uttar Pradesh districts are much in demand for Holi celebrations not only in the country but also foreign lands.
Women of self-help groups (SWG) operating under the Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission are prepare ‘gulals’ (Brightly coloured powder) in red, green, purple, pink from the flowers in Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Chandauli, Varanasi and Chitrakoot districts.
The gulals have found a demand in London besides other states in the country.
Kanchan, a woman working with the Sonbhadra Bhima Prerna group, said, “The Palash flowers are plucked and dried for a day. This is followed by boiling the flower in water for two hours which leaves behind a colour. After this, we add coloured water from Arrowroot to it, then it is spread and dried.”
“The herbal gulal costs a small amount of money. It is prepared on an average cost of Rs 60 to 70. In the market, it is sold easily between Rs 150 to 200. It yields a good profit. As many as 11 women are preparing these herbal gulals with me. Till now our self-help group has prepared herbal gulal worth three quintals which have been sold in the Sonbhadra district,” said Kanchan.
UP Rural Livelihood Mission Director, Sujit Kumar, told IANS, “So far, 5,000 kilogram of herbal colours and gulal have been prepared by 4,058 women self-help groups across 32 districts in the state, which have been sold for nearly Rs 7 lakh.”
Ayurveda Acharya Vijay Seth said, “Palash flowers are very beneficial for human beings. Its herbal colours do not harm the skin. Palash flowers always enhance the skin. It protects against antiviral and antifungal infections as well as reduces pollution. It is very beneficial to cure stomach diseases. By not adding chemicals while making colours from Palash flowers will not cause any harm to the body.”