Sustainable Alternatives


Eco friendly Ganesh Festival

Ganesh festival is celebrated very enthusiastically in many parts of India. Idols of Ganesh are installed for 1.5, 5, 7 and 11 days and on the last day, the idol is immersed in water. The immersion of the idol pollutes water bodies, ground water and the soil. But we can celibrate in a more sustainable and eco friendly manner. Most idols are made with plaster of paris which is not only pollution but after immersion break up and present a very unsightly picture of brocken arms and legs. Here are some ideas:

  • Traditionally the idol was made out of clay. Clay idols can be purchased or even made at home. Children will enjoy the experience of making an idol. Clay will be available with potters and on the internet. Plant material can also be used to make the idols, but this will not last long unless it is dry.
  • The idol is today normally coloured with articficial colours which are toxic. In the old days natural colours were used. It is very easy to use natural colours. Clays themselves are coloured and one can use red, yellow, grey clays. Vegetable colours such as turmeric, pomegranate, palash can also be used. Food colours used in the food industry is another option. 
  • Instead of immersing the idol in a water body, you can do it at home in a vessel and retain the soil for the next year. You could alos symbolically sprinkle water on the idol and keep it for the next year. 
  • Puja materials and flowers should not be immersed as they cause pollution. 
  • To have the most eco friendly Ganesh festival buy a metal or stone idol, which you can use every year.

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Holi Festival

Holi festival is a colourful and exciting festival, but the colours used can be harmful for health. Normally gulal (dry powder) and coloured water is used, but some people use paint which can contain lead. The gulal commonly sold in the market and the coloured water also contain chemicals which are harmful. Eco friendly colours are available in the market or they can be made at home.

The most commonly used natural colour is Palash or flame of the forest which blooms at this time of year. Colours can also be made with Beetroot, Coriander, Turmeric, Hibiscus, Marigold, Rose, Neem, Spinach, tea & coffee

Safe and natural Holi colours you can make at home :


Dry : Grind dried red rose petals into a fine powder



Liquid :  Keep red hibiscus flowers immersed in water overnight
Dry : Grind dried flowers petals into a fine powder.



Liquid : Grind the beetroot and filter it through a thin cloth into a bowl. Rinse out the cloth to add to the liquid.
Dry : Grind dry beetroot into a fine powder.


Flame of Forest(palash)

Liquid : Keep flame of the forest (palash) flowers immersed in water overnight.
Dry : Grind dried flowers of palash into a fine powder.


Marigold Flower (zendu)

Liquid : Keep marigold flowers immersed in water overnight
Dry : Grind dried flowers into a fine powder.


Tea & Coffee Powder
Liquid:  Mix tea and coffee to create liquid colour.



Liquid :  With gram flour: Mix gram flour and turmeric in water.
With maida : Mix maida and turmeric in hot water
Dry : Mix sandalwood powder in turmeric.



Liquid : Grind spinach to a fine paste and add water.
Dry : Dry spinach and grind in to fine powder.



Liquid : Add water to finely ground fresh coriander leaves.
Dry : Grind dry coriander leaves into a fine powder.



Liquid : Grind Neem leaves into a fine paste and add water.

For a clear liquid colour can be strained through a fine cloth as required