First, herbal colors made by inmates of Mathura district jail will be used during the 'Rangbharni Ekadashi' celebration at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi on Friday. “These herbal ‘gulal’ (colors) will be made from vegetables such as spinach, beetroot, and turmeric powder. Fragrances will be added to them later. The gulal made by the jail inmates will be applied on the deities in the rituals of Rangbharni Ekadashi at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple,” R K Mishra, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Jail, Agra told PTI on Thursday.
“The inmates will also be making 'gau cast' (cow dung logs) that can be used in place of wood for ‘Holika Dahan,” he said. According to jail officials, the cow dung logs and herbal gulal will also be available for sale outside the jail. Elaborating further, Mishra said, “Cow dung logs are eco-friendly and save woods used for 'Holika Dahan on Holi. Twenty inmates will be making about 80 quintals of gau cast. The prisoners are also making cow dung lamps." Superintendent of Mathura district jail, Brajesh Kumar Singh said six inmates are involved in the making of herbal gulal which is eco-friendly as well as skin friendly.
He said these colors will be made from the vegetables grown in the district jail premises.“A total of 200 kilograms of herbal gulal will be made by the jail inmates,” he said. Singh said 100-gram packets of these natural colors will be available to people for Rs 20 per packet. "The temple administration had asked for the gulal made by jail inmates, and we have parcelled the same to them. It is a matter of happiness that on Friday the colors made by the inmates will be applied to Lord Kashi Vishwanath, Maa Parvati, and other deities," the official added.
Another jail official P D Salonia said the prisoners are also trying to bring to focus the importance of using environment-friendly options with their products. He added that the ‘gau cast’ will be supplied to ‘Satyamev Jayate', a non-profit organization, at a cost of Rs 6 per kilogram.