swarang

Recently at the Windmill Design festival I met a fascinating saree clad  individual, Himanshu Verma, the founder of Red Earth who is known to curate art since 2004 in all its manifestations- visual art, music, dance, theatre, film, design, and more by breaking down boundaries of folk, classical, modern, popular and others while uniquely celebrating the Indian culture.

My excitement grew as I came to know about Swarang, as Red Earth brings alive holi celebrations in Delhi the Gandhian way of making your own colours to ensure purity and safety. Himanshu being an ecelectic mind, himself prepares Genda Gulaal and fancily offers in cloth potlis, an earthern handi or a set of 6 tea glasses. It is 100% home made with marigold petals which are available in 6 varieties – Narangi for orange colour, Basanti for yellow, Bhagva makes maroon; Rose Gulaal, Triple Genda Mix (all three marigold colours mixed) and Rose-Genda Mix (desi roses with marigold).

But it’s the smearing of bright red, yellow, pink, green, purple and orange, which are factory made arrowroot gulaal perfumed and really soft, specially brought from old Jaipur and sold in fancy glass beakers or Gulaal Gota made of ballooned lac (it’s centuries old traditional way of playing holi in the pink city) which are known to actually break the ice with the ones you couldn’t dare to earlier.

The really conscious players need not despair, as Charbagh Chai set which contains four types of gulaal – Chandan Haldi (Sandalwood-Turmeric), Chocolate Cinnamon, Chanderi  Gulaab (Rose)and Chandni Chowk (Henna based) might be our best bet as they have a base of authentic arrowroot and traditional attars (fragrant essential oils). Tesu Rang Bauchhaar is becoming a hit in the recent years with the arrival of organic colours in the market, since it contains tesu flowers, haldi, neem and scented kewra water. But it’s Char Yaar with neem, haldi (turmeric), chandan (sandal) and mehendi (henna) dotted with items like mauli (sacred thread), chawal (rice), dhoop cones, and liquid bindi on top of each glass respectively which caught my eye, as it’s an interest concept put together for Holika dahan (holi burning).

I later learnt about more about Himanshu’s creativity which knows no bounds; reviving other traditional Indian festivals such as Basant Panchami, Chaiti, Hariyali Teej and Diwali also, along with the living culture of Delhi. Inspired by the Indian aesthetics, he aims at creating a community affair observing how our lives are organically tied to the seasons’ cycle, nature and festivals. His activities are very nicely described by Ishanee Sarkar as “fun-filled and relentlessly innovative festivals, fusing art with seasonal celebrations…for a city on the cusp of redefining itself” in Time Out magazine.

So if you truly love this festival, or dislike it because it spoils your hair and skin just go and buy these thoughtfully prepared organic colours as I’m sure you really do not want to miss out on one of the most enjoyable Indian festivals – HOLI !!!

Pick them from Genda Mahal, F 342 A, Second Floor, Old M.B Road, Lado Sarai, Behind Crescent Mall, New Delhi by appointment- #011 41671100 / 41764054 or simply order online himanshu@redearthindia.com for your bags of colourful glee to be couriered to you.

Your fun and frolic isn’t only this, infact an authentic holi holiday begins with Jaypore Journeys, in association with Breakaway and 1100 Walks (another one of Himanshu’s entertaining and informative projects),presenting a curated journey to Vrindavan, to celebrate this festival of color and love. The group will leave from Delhi on 15th   March, Saturday morning, and come back by 16th march, Sunday evening.

During these two joyous days you will be overwhelmed with architectural grandeur, a performance of a legendary Raas Leela at the oldest living theatre of the world stages, an evening aarti (deity worship) and spiritual discourse. But most importantly it’s the participation in phoolon ki holi- “the holi of flowers”, where the love between Radha and Krishna is celebrated by drenching their devotees with the nectar of flowers, perfume, saffron water, gulaal and sandalwood. To add to this gaiety will be classical music, poetry and folk songs to suit the occasion.

The journey covers the very essence of the land of Krishna, covering seven 16th century temples, local street life, bustling markets and delectable food; as they wait to enchant you by marrying spirituality and cultural ethinicity with such ease.

Limited availability so contact journeys@jaypore.com now.