I received a box of organic colors on the occasion of Holi. Holi is an Indian festival where people apply color on each other. The box contained a dried flower. The tree is also popular as Flame of the Forest tree elsewhere in Asia. Tesu is also known as Palaash in Hindi. Going by the scientific name of Butea Monosperma, it is commonly called Flame of Forest. Gifting of colors is a common practice on occasion of Holi. Often, the color packet is accompanied by a bottle of Thandai or a box of locally made Indian sweets. This is how the organic color box looked like.
This is how you can prepare organic color for Holi from dried Tesu flowers- the easy way!
The box reminded me of a story I had read during my school years about how a protagonist prepares organic colors from Tesu flowers for Holi. It kind of made me curious. Is it possible to find Tesu tree in Jaipur?
And the flower does full justice to its name. The bright orange color flower is an absolute beauty. It stands out among its surroundings. Even though this tree is quite common in Central India namely Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Chhatisgarh, it extends all the way to the state of West Bengal in the east. Some say that instead of offering sacrifice to Goddess Kali (popular deity in Bengal), one can offer Palaash flower in its place!! The tree holds great religious and cultural significance to the region & states where it is commonly found. It is a state flower of Jharkhand. The tree flowers from January to March. The time coincides with the festival of Holi, which is usually celebrated in the month of March.
Coming back, finding Tesu flowers in Jaipur seems like a remote possibility since the topography of Jaipur differs vastly from Central India, where it is commonly found. But I still wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any; at least in popular parts of the city. There are lots of Ashoka, Holopetlia Ingrifolia, Gulmohar, Neem trees but no Tesu or Palash tree in Jaipur!!
A few weeks had passed by. During one of the hiking excursion near Jaipur, I came across a bright orange flower bloom on a tree. Looked like I had located the tree I was looking for! Wow!
Here is another tree in the vicinity. Much older and bigger!
Time for close up of Tesu flower cluster.
Tesu or Palash flower is found in clusters. Shaped like a parrot beak, it is devoid of fragrance or smell. Here’s another close up of a single flower!
The Flame of Forest tree truly proved its name -I found one in the forest!!
Even though the tree was technically not in Jaipur but now I know where to source the Tesu flowers to prepare organic color for next Holi!! Bravo!
In case, you haven’t run through my photo story on the Holi festival, check it out here.
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