Herbal Gulaal – Safe and Natural Celebration of Colors
Herbal Gulaal - a safe and harmless means of celebrating colors
Gulaal, one of the prime ingredients of a colorful Holi and other festivities including marriages, religious processions, victory processions, pujas, Tilaks, etc. has, over the years degraded in content and quality – from being a natural ingredient to becoming a chemical composition of harmful ingredients – permanent color, skin damage, eye damage and even hair root damage.
Forest Department, Udaipur had taken an initiative a few years ago in reviving the original Gulaal once again out of natural flora, which essentially had lost its roots.
Baansi Forest Department at Baansi, Pratapgarh conducted a training camp, organized by the Forest Department, on manufacturing Herbal Gulaal.
Training was conducted by Ranger Firoz Hussain of Udaipur, who has previous experience in optimizing the manufacturing process to result in maximum output from the given resources, making it a profitable opportunity for the local farmers and villagers, along with being a cheap and hazard free alternative to the Gulaal available in the market.
Flower (color base): Khakhra, Palas, Dhakh
Grain (Powder base): Starch Powder
The process starts with taking a pot full of water to Boiling Temperature and dumping the flower (color base) into the pot. The solution is stirred while the boil continues. This process lasts till a dark color liquid is formed. The liquid is then filtered into a flat pot and left to be cooled.
Once the liquid falls to room temperature, Starch powder is mixed gradually into the liquid, while constantly stirring the mixture, to ensure that every grain of the fine starch powder is immersed in color. This stirring with continuous adding of starch continues till a semi solid state is attained and further stirring is not possible. Care is taken to ensure that starch is NOT mixed in the color base till the liquid has cooled to room temperature. Else the starch could form into lumps and be wasted.
The semi solid paste is spread on a plastic sheet, to ensure that a very thin layer is formed on the plastic sheet. This is done to make sure that the paste dries out evenly (approximately 2 days).
The dried paste is passed through a Pulverize machine and grained once again to the same state in which it was originally added to the liquid. A fragment of natural essence is mixed with the powder and the product is ready to be packed and delivered for use.
Herbal Gulaal comes in various colors, which is derived from the flower that is used as the color base viz. Orange color (Rang-e-Palas); Pink (Rang-e-Gulab); Yellow (Rang-e-Amaltas) and Green (Rang-e-Hariyali). The process of manufacturing Herbal is conducted by the Forest Department every year and begins from December, till Holi. The average local market price of Herbal Gulaal is Rs. 300 per Kg.
Training was conducted in the presence of Narayan Singh Shaktawat, Ranger, Baansi under the auspices of Assistant Conservator of Forests.