PRAYAGRAJ: The Sangam city is all set to celebrate a herbal Holi this year. Around 100 women associated with 10 self help groups have prepared herbal gulal and colours using flowers offered in temples and farm houses.
Women groups in Chaka, Baharia and Bahadurpur blocks have collected flowers from several temples in the city, and in trans Ganga and trans Yamuna pockets. After receiving orders from traders’ organisations in Prayagraj and adjoining districts, they have begun preparing herbal colours.
“Herbal gulal and colours are not at all harmful for the skin and do not have any side effects on public health,” said district mission manager (DMM) of National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), Amit Shukla.
He added, “Owing to the escalating demand for herbal gulal, abir and other colours, women groups have joined hands to prepare the same in three blocks of the district including Chaka, Bahadurpur and Baharia. SHGs in trans Ganga and trans Yamuna pockets will also follow suit soon.”
Herbal gulal and colours made from flowers, fruits and ingredients such as turmeric, marigold, rose, beetroot, spinach and pomegranate are beneficial for health.
Women groups have collected flowers used in marriage ceremonies, and from fields of farmers involved in flower cultivation in trans Yamuna belt. They have prepared herbal gulal in nine different colours.
Several women had returned to their native villages in trans Ganga and trans Yamuna areas during the intitial days of the pandemic, and had made efforts to set up small businesses for their livelihood. This is the first time when women associated with SHGs have collected funds under the Community Investment Fund (CIF) to run their businesses in the blocks.
Sudha, a volunteer of the group, said, “Initially, we thought to prepare items which could be easily sold in the market. But eventually, we realised that demand for herbal gulal and colours has increased manifold in the market, and statrted started preparing the same.”
The SHGs have also planned to prepare food items for Holi such as gujia, and stalls will be set up in the city, and trans Ganga and trans Yamuna pockets for sale.
Sushma, another volunteer, said, “We are happy to have found work in our own villages. With more and more orders, we will get more work, and will earn more.”