Fall Colours in Asia

Fall colours have been associated mostly with the Americas and Europe. Almost all countries celebrate a spring festival or blossom festival when flowers bloom all at once at the advent of spring or autumn. However, some countries in Asia do exhibit fall colours as magnificently as the fall colours of the USA, Canada, UK or Germany. Local cultures have their own festival regarding the advent of winter. So, do check them out if you plan a visit this autumn.

Autumn Colours in Lahaul, India

1)India :
The fall colours of India are absent in most parts of the country except the northern Himalayas. But during autumn, the vast gardens of the Kashmir valley, filled with fallen brown leaves from the chinar trees, present an enchanting view for travellers. Ladakh and Lahaul-Spiti area gets dotted with golden yellow blossoms of Himalayan poplars, marking the advent of a 6-month-long harsh winter. Elsewhere, India’s biggest festival Diwali, the festival of lights, marks the time when fallen leaves are burnt to light bonfires.

Autumn Colours in Hunza, Pakistan

2)Pakistan :
Pakistan exhibits a wide range of sudden bursts of colours during autumn in its northern areas. Skardu, Khaplu, Shigar, Ghizer, Gilgit are all covered in a mix of golden, red, yellow, brown, with a little number of green colours. Hunza and Nagar valleys in the lap of the Karakoram are some of the most spectacular places on earth in the fall season.

Autumn Colours in Kyoto, Japan

3)Japan :
Like its cherry flower viewing festival, sakura, Japan also has a maple hunting festival, called momijigari. After the US, Japan is one of the most sought-after countries in the world for fall colours. Temples, lakes, parks, and valleys are adorned with a variety of red, orange, yellow colours from falling leaves from maple, beech and ginkgo trees. The temple town of Kyoto adorns a bright red hue attracting tourists from all over the world.

Autumn Colours in Seoul, South Korea

4)South Korea :
Most parts of South Korea exhibit fall colours at the peak of autumn. The most famous places are in Seoraksan mountains and Odaesan mountains in the north-west corner of the country, though fall colours from ginkgo and maple trees. Seoul and Nami Island also exhibit parks where fall foliage can be seen. North Korea too has its own share of autumn colours, though it is forbidden for visitors.

Autumn Colours in Great Wall of China, China

5)China :
China, being a very large country, has a wide variety of landscapes. Viewing fall colours is most common in and around Beijing, especially around the Great Wall of China. Other places where nature is at its best during autumn are Jiuzhaigou nature reserve in northern Sichuan, around Kanas Lake in Xinjiang, and the red leaves valley in Shandong provinces. This is also the time for the Mid-Autumn festival in Chinese traditions.

Have you visited any of these places in autumn? Do let us know in the comment section below.

Written by – Himadri Paul

Organic Colours for Holi

Spring is the season of flowers when the rusty, dry leaves of winter make way for new fresh leaves and flowers. Flowers are of multicolours, while leaves are green. Colours from flowers, leaves, fruits, and roots are natural and beneficial for healthy skin. Therefore, in the spring season, we celebrate Holi by smearing ourselves with colours extracted from nature.

Sadly, nowadays, in Holi, artificial colours have mostly replaced the use of traditional natural colours, also called gulal. Artificial colours are cheap, bright, lasting, and widely available in stores. However, they are not as good for the skin as their natural counterparts. Artificial colours are severely harmful to individuals who have skin diseases, skin allergy, rashes, insect bites, itchy skin. Thus, many people refrain from participating in playing Holi. Health-conscious people have now switched over to natural colours, which are expensive and rarely available.

In today’s world, flowers are widely available, so are leaves, roots and fruits that we eat. So, we can make colours at home. Also, the availability of suitable powder bases in our kitchens makes our task more manageable. Let us see what colours we can make at home from inexpensive and readily available natural ingredients.

1)Red:

Hibiscus, palash, and shimul are red-coloured flowers, and these can be used for red colours. For powdered colours, the petals of these flowers can be sun-dried and powdered finely to a paste. It can be added to a powdered base like rice flour, corn-starch, or even talcum powder for a cheaper alternative. The brightness of the powder depends on the number of dried flowers added to the powder base. The powdered may be sun-dried again if they are a bit sticky. For wet colour, boiling pomegranate peels in water will produce bright red coloured water.

2)Yellow:

One of the best and cheapest sources of yellow colour is turmeric. Dried turmeric powered is readily available in our kitchen and mixing besan with it will produce an excellent amber-coloured powder. If using white powder, a better method is to boil turmeric in water and mix it with the powder. It gives a bright yellow colour to rice flour, corn-starch or talcum powder. If available, cornflour or makai can be a good option as a powder base as it is yellow. Boiling turmeric in water will produce a wet yellow colour.

3)Green:

Green leafy vegetables are readily available in our homes. Green leafy vegetables like coriander or spinach are widely available during spring. Both can be ground into a paste, which itself is a delicious chutney. When mixed with any white powder base like rice flour, corn-starch or talcum powder, the paste will give a soothing green colour. For wet colours, henna mixed with water gives bright olive-green colour. Henna is not harmful to the skin, but it leaves a reddish-orange stain in the skin that takes some days to wash off.

4)Blue:

Blue rarely occurs in nature. But in India, blue-coloured butterfly pea or aparajita flower is widely available. The butterfly pea flower’s petals can be dried, made into a paste, and mixed with powder to form a blue-coloured powder. Butterfly pea plant boiled in water gives a brilliant blue colour. It can also be drunk as it has impressive health benefits.

5)Pink/Magenta:

Beetroot is a good source of natural colour used widely to colour cakes, cookies, and many food items. When grated beetroot is added to water and rinsed well, it gives a very bright magenta colour. For powdered colour, beetroot water may be mixed with white powder. It makes a lovely pink powder. The brightness of the colour depends on the amount of beetroot in the powder.

These are the most common and widely used natural colours that we can easily make at home with little effort and is affordable. Though they are not as cheap as artificial colours, they take care of our skin and body, thus being cosmetic. Many social and cultural organizations have started manufacturing natural colours and distribute them during Holi. Therefore, in years to come, we are looking forward to seeing a drop in prices and wide acceptance of natural gulal for playing Holi.

Written By – Himadri Paul

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