Gulaal made from Palash flowers in Uttar Pradesh have won clients in countries like London!
While Holi is surely a festival of colours and delights, the joy that it brings increases when there are safer alternatives to enjoy. Banking on this thought, women's self-help groups in Uttar Pradesh prepare herbal gulaal from the 'Palash' flower (Butea monosperma) for enhanced options to mark the festival. Given its innovative preparation style and multiple benefits, the gulaal has attracted demands from different parts of the country and foreign nations like London.
Target to raise sales worth ₹1 crore with Holi products of SHGs
This organic gulaal is prepared by females in self-help groups across Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Chandauli, Varanasi and Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh. These groups are functional under the Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission with an objective to secure financial independence for women. Manufactured from the flowers in a range of colours including red, green, purple, pink, the brightly coloured Gulaal have risen from Uttar Pradesh to find clients at national and international levels. This includes states like Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Uttarakhand and others.
UP Rural Livelihood Mission Director, Sujit Kumar said, "During Holi one must use chemical-free colours. For this purpose, gulaal is being prepared from the flowers of Palash. The women of the self-help groups are engaged in this work. Especially in Sonbhadra and Mirzapur districts. So far, 5,000 kilograms of herbal colours and gulaal 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."
He added that the self-help groups are also engaged in the production of chips, 'papad' and 'gujiya' other than herbal gulaal. For this purpose, the women are also being trained to ensure the best quality products are prepared. The director further asserted that the project aims to reap sales worth ₹1 crore through this project.
Increasing retail & expanding profits!
Kanchan, a woman involved with the Sonbhadra Bhima Prerna group, informed about the process of production. In the first step, the flowers are plucked and segregated for drying. After they are dried properly, the flowers are boiled in water for around two hours which spills a specific colour. This coloured water is then mixed with arrowroots and spread over large areas for getting dried.
With a production cost of ₹60-70, the gulaal ushers significant profits in the market being sold at ₹150-200. Kanchan further acquainted that around three quintals of gulaal have been produced in Sonbhadra district alone. Additionally, the group from Sonbhadra has already sent an order to London. Being a safe alternative for playing Holi with no adverse effects to the skin, 'Palash' gulaal has increased its sales with expanded earnings in recent times.
A storehouse of multiple benefits
Ayurveda Acharya Vijay Seth was quoted saying, "Palash flower is very beneficial for human beings. Its herbal colours do not harm the skin. Palash flower always enhances 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."