Gulal is a traditional colored powder symbolizes joy, togetherness and the lively spirit of cultural festival popularly known as Holi.

Play Holi with Gulal
Play Holi with Gulal

Namaste!

Welcome to the world of engrossed readings at www.onindianpath.com. I’m here again with an interesting blog on Gulal.

Introduction

Is’nt it fascinating to see a burst of colorful powder with joy? Let’s read this blog on Gulal, where traditional and vibrant celebrations mixes up to give us goosebumps.

Rang barse bhige chunar wali rang barse” my mind is humming a very famous bollywood number on Holi. Big B aka legendery Amitabh Bachcan performed a mesmerising act on Holi, on this awesome track. Additionally the lyrics and the spirited melody add to the festive charm, making it a timeless favorite during Holi, even in 2024 too.

Nevrtheless, Gulal, also known as Abhir. It is a coloured powder made from natural resources like flowers and leaves. Besides, people throw it in air and to each other as a sign of love and celebrations.

History and Origin of Gulal

As I mentioned in my previous blog on Holi, Mata Yashodha gave gulal to Lord Krishna to smear it on Radha’s face. As he was reluctant to be as fair as Radha, Mata Yashoda made gulal form flowers of Palash, Hibiscus, Rose and pomegrante to give it to her son to play holi. This was done to convince him of his Shyam Varn (color of Lord Krishna’s skin). Since then, people are making gulal from natural sources like chandan( sandalwood), indigo, turmeric, flowers and leaves.

However, with advent of time, Gulal has transformed. It has a rich history of association with the festival of Holi. Surely, people celebrate the festival of colors to welcome the arrival of spring also with throwing Gulal in the air.

Apparently, modern profit makers are using harsh chemicals to make gulal. Thus, it results in loss of essence of the colour and lots of skin reactions and allergies.

Significance of Gulal

Moreover, Gulal adds a playful and joyous element to the festival of Holi. Over the time, the use of gulal has become a cherished custom, spreading its vibrant colors beyond India to various parts of the world.

Further, Holi is the festival is where revellers rid themselves of errors they may have done in the past and to come together with others to forget, forgive, enjoy the changing of new seasons and make new friends with Gulal.

Gulal
Gulal in market; source: wikimedia commons

Uses of Gulal

Not only in Holi, but the vibrancy and exuberance of Gulal can not be missed at other community celebrations like Ganesha chaturthi and Durga Visarjan. While participating in the visarjan of beloved idols of the Lord Ganesha and Goddess Durga, devotees throw Gulal in the air to celebrate the unity and bond of the community extravaganza.

Certainly apart from the grand festival of Holi, we have few of the ways people are using Gulal in different ways:

  1. In fun events like kavi sammelan
  2. At the end of a race or marathon
  3. For gender revealing shows
  4. For photo shoots and maternity shoot, gulal is used as background
  5. For wedding functions like Haldi and Mehndi ceremony and many more.

I have been watching my uncles and aunts deeply engaged into the artistry that goes into creating these vibrant powders at home with grest ease. They used all natural products from kitchen and garden to create gulal.

DIY Gulal at home

Traditionally people used natural, plant based colours. But now commercialisation of festivals and goodies has flooded market with hazardous chemicals, full of harsh dyes and strongly stained colours. Thus results in eyes infection, damage to hair and skin allergy and reactions.

Meanwhile lets learn to make Gulal at your end. Firstly, it is a fun way to make Holi more memorable. Secondly, it’s something your guests, kids and everyone around involved will cherish for future. Let’s uncover some of the hues of Gulal :

  1. Furthermore, for Red Gulal, one can use rose flowers, Hibiscus, Palash, and peels of pomegrante, beetroot. Always dry them first. Grind them into a fine powder. Mix the powder with cornstarch or flour. Your red Gulal is ready as biodegradable and skin freindly gulal.
  2. Try for green color. One can easily grind dried leaves of Henna with wheat or rice flour. Your green tinned gulal is ready to make Holi more joyous.
  3. How can I miss the most eye grabbing colour? Folks, mix dried flowers of marigold or turmeric or yellow sandalwood with flour to create that Tapestry of hues of yellow gulal.
  4. Earlier people used to have jamun for having purple gulal.
  5. Further, you are all free to use Palash, Amultas, Hibiscus, indian lilac, sandalwood and orange peels to mix with either flour or talcum powder and create those funky and natural gulals.

Infact, we should be more environment conscious and should move a bit closer to sustainable living. I am sure DIY gulal will surely give a boost to sustainability and ecology.

Conclusion

Consequently I end up my blog here on Holi 2024 where every burst of color tells a story of togetherness and jubilation.

Certainly it is the beauty and joy of gulal that brings to celebrations. I would love to hear your own experiences of this vibrant traditional festival. And if you are not celebrating it at your end, try to embrace this colorful occurrence this time with open heart. Have a blessed time ahead.

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