Lucknow, March 4 : Uttar Pradesh is preparing to celebrate an eco-friendly Holi this year. And for the same, herbal gulal is being prepared from flowers used for prayers in a temple.
For this, herbal gulal made of flowers from many iconic temples, including the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Mata Vindvasini temple, will be used to anoint citizens on their forehead on the occasion of Holi.
The initiative has been made possible by women’s self-help groups under the Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihoods Mission.
In 32 districts, self-help groups are busy preparing herbal colours. In particular, it is being done in a big manner by self-help groups even in iconic temples such as Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath temple, Lucknow’s Khatu Shyam temple and the Devi Patan temple in Shravasti.
Mission director Yogesh Kumar said that herbal colours and gulal are being prepared from flowers in temples so that people are protected from pollution and the atmosphere is also purified in the process. “Women have been given training for this. This type of gulal will not be harmul. Secondly, it will also provide employment to a large number of women,” adds Kumar.
The mission’s project manager Acharya Shekhar said that a target of Rs. 5 to 10 lakh has been set for each district. The flowers will also be sold online on Flipkart and Amazon, along with major markets of all the blocks of the state. The mission aims to provide employment to more and more women.
Savita Devi, Secretary, Ganga Group Mirzapur said that the flowers emanating from temples must not become part of everyday garbage. “Nor do they contaminate the river. Flowers are collected from the temples and dried. The colour is boiled in warm water. After that, it is prepared by mixing the petals of the flower with arrowroot. One kilo arrowroot is prepared at a cost of Rs. 50 and is sold comfortably at Rs. 140-150 through markets and stalls .
The use of chemical dyes in Holi colours can have a detrimental effect on the human body, says MH Usmani, senior dermatologist at Balrampur Hospital. “Chemicals found in colour can even lead to skin cancer. Copper sulphate can cause eye allergies. On Holi, one must use natural colours to protect the environment as well as one’s health.”