Kab hai Holi? Holi kab hai?
The Festival of Colours is here, and it’s time to bring out the gulaal, gujiyas, and thandai.
The sweets tend to be homemade, but local markets are usually chock-a-block with an array of colours such as powders, dyes, and sprays. They may appear bright and vibrant, but these colours are usually loaded with synthetic chemicals and hazardous materials like heavy metals, sand, asbestos, chalk, and silica, among others.
But, we are going back to the days of yore when Holi was celebrated with colours made from flowers, spices, and other plant-based materials. A number of Indian startups today are making herbal and environment-friendly colours accessible to the mass today.
YS has curated a list of startups that will help you play an organic, green Holi.
Mitti Ke Rang
Founded in 2014 by Sanket Deshmukh and Amit Jain, social venture Mitti Ke Rang is an ecommerce portal that helps women entrepreneurs sell their products online.
The startup has also launched handcrafted compostable herbal and finely filtered natural colours, to make Holi even more colourful, toxin-free, and environmentally friendly. All these colours are handmade by women artisans in the Uttarakhand region and are 100 percent organic and chemical-free.
These hypoallergenic colours are made from dried flower petals, and herbal and natural ingredients like turmeric, neem, beetroot, and tesu. They are packed in boxes that are completely recyclable and biodegradable.
Founded in 2012 by Nitin Pamnani and Jia Pamnani, Gwalior-basedsells handicrafts and handmade products. It also sells handmade organic and herbal colours.
iTokri serves a variety of eco-friendly and natural gulaals that claim to be completely safe for kids, elders, and pets. The colours are made from orchids, pink and red roses, organic turmeric, mehandi, and palak leaves, and are non-allergic and stain-free on skin and hair. A single gulaal pack is priced at Rs 95 and a pack of four is available for Rs 350.
Founded in 2019 by Surbhi Bansal, Bharat Bansal, and Rajeev Bansal, Delhi-based social enterprise Nirmalaya offers organic and premium aromatic products for the festival of Holi.
Nirmalaya aims to use religious waste, including flower petals that are collected and recycled to produce organic products with natural fragrances. The vision is to “change the way our society works and make use of religious products in order to reduce the pollution of waterways that occurs through the disposal of discarded petals in the water”.
Nirmalaya’s organic gulaals are chemical-free and safe for human skin as certified by IIRT. The herbal Holi colors are made from dried flower petals and natural ingredients like turmeric, neem, and palash. A single gulaal pack is priced at Rs 125 and a pack of four is available for Rs 499.
Founded in 2017 by Ankit Agarwal, Kanpur-basedcollects floral waste from mosques and temples in Uttar Pradesh. The waste is handcrafted by women coming from marginalised sections of the society into natural fertiliser via flowercycling.
It offers incense sticks, vermicompost, and incense cones. All products are 100 percent biodegradable and can be buried post-usage. They can also be customised to any size, shape, and strength.
The startup also offers herbal, natural, and vibrant gulaal for holi made from fresh and rich herbs, temple flower waste, and rice powder. These are skin-safe certified by the Centre for Cruelty-Free Testing.
My Pooja Box
Founded in 2017 by Kaveri Sachdev, New Delhi-basedoffers spiritual products and pooja boxes for religious occasions across India. The startup has created a herbal gulaal collection for Holi, with colours that are “entirely natural and herbal”.
The colours are made from organic ingredients like herbs, flowers, edible materials, fruit and vegetable extracts, and chocolate, and are safe for skin and hair. They are also environmentally friendly. The range starts from a single colour pack of Rs 99 to Rs a 1,999 hamper that includes a silver-plated pichkari with a bucket.