Tag Archives: Holi

The Holi Edit for Skin & Hair

Holi is a popular ancient Indian festival celebrating the onset of spring, the celebration of positivity, and the triumph of goodness. Over time this festival has garnered a lot of popularity and is now celebrated in many places across the globe.

Many of us look forward to Holi, the festival of colors, with both pomp and gaiety. With these quick and easy ancient home remedies, you’ll be confident in your pre and post-Holi skincare regime.

Do it Right

“Pre-Holi we advise prepping your skin. Face oils or sheet masks offer your skin ample moisturization and hydration. Sandalwood oil, Rosehip seed oil, and Coconut oil are excellent to improve skin elasticity, while sheet masks work great for oily skin. This can also be done post Holi. Additionally, dab a damp cotton ball in freshly squeezed lemon juice and apply all over your face and wash off once dry. A sunscreen with a good SPF is always a must,” say Tanushree Ishaani D and Pooja Karegoudar, Founders, BodyCafé.

Do It Yourself

The biggest challenge post-Holi is removing the color stains and dryness. Splash your face with a lot of cold water and apply cleansing milk to remove excess colors. Follow it up with a gentle facial massage with some coconut oil, allowing it to sit on your face for a little while and wash off with a mild foaming face wash. Those with acne-prone or oily skin can substitute oil with aloe vera gel.

“We do not advise exfoliating or using scrubs on the face as it can aggravate any damage or skin irritation,” warn Ishaani & Karegoudar. “Although we do not recommend scrubs for the face, mild homemade scrubs on the body helps remove colors easily.  Natural Ubtans (homemade packs) help nourish skin from within and regain its PH balance and radiance.”

“Mix 2 tablespoons of turmeric, lemon juice, honey, and curd and apply on face and body. Another Ubtan option is applying a paste of lemon juice, ripe papaya, and a spoonful of milk powder. Ideally, packs must be kept on for at least 20-25 minutes and rinsed off with cold water. Apply generous amounts of lotion or body butter on the entire body to restore depleted moisture and nourishment,” advise Ishaani & Karegoudar.

At The Tribe Concepts, founder Amritha Gaddam suggests, “An important part while making a DIY face pack is to understand what your skin needs. Choose the ingredients that offer benefits to your skin type and know your allergies. If your skin type is dry, use hydrating ingredients like rose and aloe vera whereas if your skin type is oily, stick with ingredients like Fuller’s Earth to make the best DIY mask.”

Anita Golani of iORA

Mane Bane

One of the most common complaints is excessive hair loss after Holi.  The itching in the scalp is caused due to color debris and harsh chemicals present in the colors.

Anita Golani, Founder, iORA, a DIY Salon Kit Series explains, “Oiling your hair is a must. Make sure you generously oil your hair with coconut oil or any oil of your liking.” The main aim is to let the oil seep into your hair roots to prevent scalp allergies or damage.

“Use a leave-in conditioner or nourishing hair serum if oiling seems too much for you. Be a fashionista and wrap a bandana over your hair. You will not only look cool but also prevent the color from directly touching your hair. Going for a deep conditioning session both before and after Holi celebrations is a pretty good idea too. Wash your hair immediately after coming home post-Holi with a herbal or organic shampoo. Be thorough and make sure to take your time to wash your hair properly to remove all the residual color settled on your scalp. Cut your split ends off if you have any. The dry Holi colors tend to intensify frizziness.”

The mantra is simple – use natural products and masks for your hair and skin care. “So, pre-Holi, you can make a simple yet super nourishing hair mask by combining egg yolks, lemon juice, yogurt, amla powder, and coconut oil. Leave it for at least 40 mins. Almond oil is a great additive in place of coconut oil as it helps the colors to get off easily post-Holi,” adds Golani.

Radhika Iyer Talati of Beauty by Anahata

Take Care

The ears are prone to get infected with colored water and since the structure of the ears is a little complicated, it becomes difficult to remove residue from them. “It is important that you protect your ears by covering them with a small cotton ball. This will help keep your ears safe from any water or color entering them. The eyes must be specifically protected during Holi. I will strongly recommend that you sprinkle a few drops of rose water inside your eyes. Place a cotton pad soaked with some more rose water over your eyes and after five to ten minutes, wash your eyes with normal water and you are good to go. Rosewater is a natural coolant and its application will protect your eyes from any unnecessary eye infection,” says Radhika Iyer Talati, Founder, Beauty By Anahata.

Wear cotton clothing when you venture out and make sure you layer well, and that your clothes also cover your body completely so that no color enters your skin and damages it.

Have fun this Holi! But don’t forget your hair and skin.

Pre-Holi Care

  • Rub ice on your face before stepping out to play Holi. Rubbing an ice cube for 10 mins closes your pores so that the colors don’t seep into your skin.
  • Mix together coconut oil + castor oil + almond oil in equal quantities and massage well into your face. This super moisturizing oil blend creates a barrier between your skin and the Holi colors. Plus, it’s easier to take these colors off once you are home.
  • Do not forget to apply sunscreen on your body to prevent tanning. Wear a non-sticky, matt sunscreen that will last all day.
  • Apply two coats of dark nail paint to prevent unnecessary nail staining and cuticle concerns.
  • Keep your lips hydrated and protected from all the harmful colors by simply applying some good old petroleum jelly.

Post-Holi Care

  • Stay away from soaps and face washes as they are chemical-based and can disturb the alkaline balance of your skin. Go for organic soaps and cleansers instead.
  • Revive your skin’s health with natural face masks or DIY face packs.
  • Stay away from excessive scrubbing to remove the residual color from your skin. Try gentle methods such as oil-based clean-up and wipe the colors off your skin.
  • Apply moisturizer every night to restore the moisture sucked out because of all the toxic and dry colors.

Bindu Gopal Rao is a freelance writer and photographer from Bangalore who likes taking the offbeat path when traveling. Birding and environment are her favorites and she documents her work on www.bindugopalrao.com.
Photo by Bulbul Ahmed on Unsplash

Why Madhubani? Find Out At Our Free Workshop!

Why Madhubani Art?

Madhubani literally means ‘forests of honey’ and refers to paintings in a distinct style that captures viewers’ attention with their vibrancy. ‘Madhubani’, is a folk art handed down over thousands of years from the times of Ramayana. Tradition states that King Janak of Mithila commissioned artists to make paintings for the wedding of his daughter, Sita, to Lord Ram. The womenfolk of the village drew the paintings on the walls of their home as an illustration of their thoughts, hopes, and dreams.

With time, the paintings became a part of festivities and special events. It was unknown to the outside world until the massive Bihar earthquake of 1934. House walls had tumbled down, and the British colonial officer in Madhubani District, William G. Archer, inspecting the damage, ‘discovered’ the paintings on the newly exposed interior walls of homes. Archer was stunned by the beauty of the paintings and their similarities to the work of modern Western artists like Klee, Miro, and Picasso. Slowly and gradually, Madhubani paintings from Bihar, India, crossed the traditional boundaries and started reaching connoisseurs of art at the national as well as the international level. 

Madhubani paintings, done in villages around the present town of Madhubani, were usually done on freshly plastered mud walls of huts. These paintings use two-dimensional imagery, and the colors used are derived from plants. Traditional themes generally revolve around Hindu deities like Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. The paintings also depict natural objects, like the sun and moon, and religious plants, like tulsi (holy basil). Other motifs include scenes from the royal court and social events, apart from activities from daily life. 

Madhubani is a unique folk art that is said to beckon the gods every morning who comes invisibly to the household to bless the members of the family and to bring prosperity. Hence my fascination with it!

About Bandiworks and Me

I’m a multi-disciplinary artist who enjoys engaging with folk art from across the world – with a special focus on India. The idea is to share with people the simplicity of these creative forms and my love for them – I find them so empowering. I design and conduct experiential workshops for all age groups, giving a contemporary bent to heritage Arts and Crafts. 

At Bandiworks, one of the artforms we worked with extensively is ‘Madhubani’ of Bihar. We have adapted this folk art to create contemporary custom-made articles of use as well as curated paired experiences which introduce you to Madhubani in different settings. Be it along with the traditional food of Bihar, the Dashavatar rendition in Kathak, or the intricate folds of Origami. This juxtaposition makes for thought-provoking forms of expression and gives rise to unexpected conversations.

India Currents and Bandiworks Connects

Join me, in collaboration with India Currents, for a free LIVE Madhubani drawing workshop on March 31st at 6:30pm PDT and 9:30pm EDT.

Sign up for the event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/146816172123

Join us from anywhere in the world to celebrate Holi and draw Madhubani art.

This event is for all ages and will run as a 1.5 hr online workshop on Zoom.

No previous drawing skills required!!

You will walk away with the knowledge of an age-old traditional art form, appreciation for it because you’ve drawn it yourself, and an hour of relaxation and fun – much needed during these times.

Materials Required:

  • A4 sized paper (Thicker is better. Handmade paper if you have access to it)
  • Fine tipped gel/fibre tipped pens in black and red (fine-tipped sharpies)

Look forward to seeing you all there!

Bandana Agarwal is passionate about folk art from around the world and hopes to make it accessible!

Love and Lord Krishna

Any person who has grown up listening to stories of the lovable Krishna from Hindu mythology, the blue-faced one sporting a naughty smile and holding a fistful of butter, will know that Mathura and Vrindavan were Krishna’s stomping grounds.

Ram Mandir in Mathura
Ram Mandir in Mathura

The numerous temples and the flow of devotees into the towns of Mathura, Vrindavan and and the adjoining hamlets of Gokul, Barsana, Nandgaon that constitute Brajbhoomi tell the story of how Lord Krishna is loved as much as revered. The colorful stories of the innocent pranks of adolescent Krishna vanquishing demons as a child and his playfulness as a youth and of his teasing and frolicking with gopis and ardently wooing his beloved Radha with a peacock feather tucked in his hair-band and a flute in his hand ensure that the Krishna legend continues from Dwapar Yug (epoch) to Kali Yug.

It was on a sunny spring morning that we drove on the Yamuna Expressway from Delhi to the twin towns of Vrindavan and Mathura. It was just a week prior to the celebrated festival of Holi and a joyous mood pervaded the towns.

As we got off the Expressway on to a narrow road snaking through the cultivated fields towards Vrindavan the soothing rays of the sun warmed the cockles of our hearts. Spring was in full bloom and cheerful flowers set the mood while vast fields of potato cultivation spread a verdant hue. Harvesting of the tubers had commenced and heaps of potato lay on the roadside. Bullock carts trudged past and farmers walked to work while stray dogs roamed around.

The laid back charm was soon replaced by the cacophony of a pilgrim town as we entered Vrindavan. Once known for its fragrant groves it now resembled any other dusty mofussil town from the Gangetic plains.

With signboards showing the direction to Vrindavan’s most famous Banke Bihari temple we reached the site before the Lord retired for his afternoon siesta. The roads were all spruced up and the lanes cleaned for Holi. Rahul, a local student who doubled as a guide in his free time was awaiting the festival during which hordes of devotees and curious foreigners flooded the town. “Everything is awash in color and on the day of Holi. ‘Lathmaar Holi’ is played and then beats of dholaks rend the air as the participants enthrall  everyone with mellifluous folk songs,” he described.

Banke Bihari Temple
As we walked down the lane leading to the temple, hawkers were arranging peacock feathers, shop owners were displaying Radha-Krishna pictures for sale, and sweets were being arranged at mishthan bhandars or sweetmeat shops. Sadhus with their weird hairdos and saffron robes sat whiling away time as monkeys pranced around causing commotion. It was hilarious to watch devotees struggling to hide their spectacles and prasad from the monkeys. The only sight that unsettled us were those of widows clad in white sitting quietly by the roadside. It was ironical for a town known for the youthful shenanigans of Krishna and his gopis to be so cruel to its widows who are driven away from their own homes to live in penury.

Inside the temple there was much jostling and without much effort we were pushed to the front. The black luminescent idol of Banke Bihari draped in shimmering brocade and silk and adorned with jewels looked awesome. The aura of the divine deity had a calming effect on us as we fervently prayed.


With prayer on our lips and hope in our hearts we looked around for the famous “Mathura ke lal pede” or the famous red sweets made from evaporated milk in Mathura. Outside the temple there were stalls that dated back a century. We bought some delicious pede from Lakhan ki Dukan  (Lakhan’s store).

The festival of Holi celebrated with a splendor of colors
The festival of Holi celebrated with a splendor of colors

Holi Celebrations
Janmashtami and Holi are two festivals that are celebrated with much fanfare in Vrindavan and Mathura. The Holi celebration, the rite of spring heralding the New Year,  starts almost a week before the actual date (March 6, 2015). The devotees play Holi inside the temple. As fistfuls of abeer and gulal fly, they create a haze of pink, red, yellow and saffron hue.
The Holi festival is strongly associated with Lord Krishna and Brajbhoomi comes alive with frenzied celebrations during the period. For a week, priests and devotees partake in the celebration as colored water and powder cover everyone.

Games People Play
In the afternoon the Banke Bihari temple organizes Huranga (a game played between men and women using liquid colors) or Lathmaar Holi (a game where women chase men away with sticks) on its premises. Hordes of tourists throng to the temple to soak in the mood of joy and gaiety and hundreds of photographers vie for a perfect shot. After the games the women and men sing folk songs inside the temple and immerse themselves in devotion to the deity to seek his divine blessings.

The tradition of playing Lathmaar Holi has an interesting genesis too. The legend says that Krishna once went to see Radha in Barsana when her friends chased him and his friends away with sticks. Krishna later came back with his friends from Nandgaon to play Holi with Radha. The modern festivities ensure a playful enactment of the scene when women in ghunghat (head covering) chase the menfolk with sticks while the men protect themselves with shields.

Nidhivan and ISKCON
Listening to all these colorful tales we decided to pay a visit to Nidhivan, where Krishna indulged in RasLeela (a dance) with the gopis in the forest. It was here in a secluded spot that Krishna’s devotee Swami Haridas meditated. Legend says that Lord Krishna transformed himself into an idol on Haridas’ request and the black luminescent idol was installed in the temple in 1864. The aura of the idol is such that no one can continuously look at it. This is the reason why a curtain is drawn every few minutes over the idol in the temple.

From there we headed to the Krishna Balram temple of ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) that has made “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” chants an anthem for foreigners and Indians alike who are drawn to Krishna’s allure. The society is also credited to have taken up a number of social projects including feeding the poor.

Spaghetti Anyone?
It was post noon and the rumble in our tummies signaled that we too needed some succor. We ate at the Shri Govinda restaurant on the premises. They are known the world over for delicious vegetarian food prepared sans onions and garlic. Besides the Indian cuisine we also loved the Italian spaghetti and macaroni and coaxed the manager Balram Das to tell us the secret to his sauce. He explained that it was the addition of a specially made organic sauce that gave the unique taste to the dishes.

Love Temple
In the evening our next stop happened to be the current hot favorite of tourists, the Prem Mandir (Love Temple) built entirely of white marble enticing the public with a colorful  musical fountain (7pm-7:30pm) and a bedazzling display of lights. The grandeur of the temple, its vast garden with statues depicting events from Krishna’s childhood and the intricate carvings inside draws old and young alike.

A savory snack called Kachoris, a very common street food in India
A savory snack called Kachoris, a very common street food in India

Delectable Desserts and Savory Selections

Next day as we continued our temple trail from Vrindavan to Mathura, we noticed that modernization had brought newer chains of eating outlets. But North Indian cuisine still predominated in the region and most restaurants served vegetarian food even without onions and garlic in both Vrindavan and Mathura. The bylanes of Mathura are the places to go to gorge on delectable sweets and savory snacks from the umpteen hole-in-the-wall shops and kiosks. My morning stroll in old Mathura from Chowk Bazaar to Holi Gate was a sensory and culinary experience. As the street stirred to life the tea stalls were first to light the stoves with hissing kettles letting off an inviting aroma and I could not resist a piping hot kulhad (terracotta cup) of sweet milk tea. A little later the Mishtan Bhandars and bhojnalayas (eating places) would also become busy frying hot kachoris to be served with delicious aloo ki sabzi, syrupy jalebis and chhena ki mithai.

After breakfast it was time to visit one of the oldest temples that was built as a haveli (historical mansion) in 1814. Here Lord Krishna is depicted as the King of Dwarka so his idol is flanked by his queens Rukmini and Satyabhama. The temple is famous for its annual 13 days Jhulan Yatra (swing festival) celebrated with grandeur in the month of August.

In the evening as we walked towards Vishram ghat on the banks of the river Yamuna from Holi gate to Chatta bazaar the tangy chaat, aloo tikki, pani-puri, hot samosa with chutney, chana chivda, moong dal pakode, stuffed parathasand dal vati vendors eateries could be seen doing brisk business. We gorged on some hot and spicy treats before settling down for the evening aarti at the ghat where once Lord Krishna and Balram rested after killing the cruel king Kansa.

In the birthplace of “Makhan Chor” (another playful term for Lord Krishna) one is spoilt for choice of food and drinks and dessert with lassi, rabri, badam (almond) milk, pede being sold at every nook and corner.

So what better place to have lassi and rabri than the temple of Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi itself?  This temple holds great significance as Krishna is said to have been born here and a jail has been erected in the temple to get the feel of the captivity of Vasudev and Devaki (Krishna’s parents) by the evil king Kansa. As legend goes a lot of miracles happened when Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was whisked away to the cowherd village of Gokul on that stormy night when the river Yamuna swelled with heavy downpour.

When we drove to the Gokul Barrage over the river Yamuna, I couldn’t help getting down and watching the river that appeared so calm. I could visualize, many centuries ago, a naughty Krishna being chased by a loving Yashoda in Gokul after breaking the pot full of butter. Truly Krishna still resides in Brajbhoomi, his presence can be felt everywhere.

Famous Mathura Eating Joints:

Om Pahalwan Kachoriwala (Holi Gate) and Brijwasi Chaat Wala (Tilak Dwar) are good for Indian street food.

Brijwasi Mithaiwala has seven outlets and is famous for mawa sweets. The Mathura ke pede, Meva vati peda and export quality special peda last for three months after purchase. At this store, you get Mathura specialities  likeKhurchan, Rabri, Ghewar, Faini, pista sweets and lots of namkeens.

Shankar Mithaiwala (Tilak Dwar in Holi Gate) is an institution in itself where traditional food is prepared in shudh Desi Ghee. Their pede, sugar free moong dal burfi, creamy lassi, sumptuous breakfast of chhole bhature, khasta kachoriand dahi bhalla will keep you full for a long time.

Kavita Kanan Chandra is a freelance journalist and travel writer based in Mumbai. She has lived and worked in different parts of India and understands the pulse of her country.