What is a Gulaal Gota?

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With Holi set to be celebrated on March 25, in some parts of Rajasthan’s Jaipur, an old tradition will play out where colours will be thrown through a unique medium called the “Gulaal Gota”.

About Gulaal Gota

  • It is a small ball made of lac, filled with dry gulaal.
  • Gulaal Gotas are made by Muslim lac makers, called Manihaars, only in Jaipur.
  • The tradition of using Gulal Gota goes back to 400 years when the erstwhile Jaipur royal family members would play Holi with them.

How is it prepared?

  • The making of Gulaal Gotas involves first boiling the lac in water to make it flexible. Lac is a resinous substance that is secreted by certain insects. It is also used to make bangles.
  • After shaping the lac, colour is added to it. At first red, yellow, and green are added as other colours can be obtained through their combinations.
  • After the processing is done, artisans heat the lac. It is then blown into a spherical shape with the help of a blower called “phunkni”.
  • Then, gulaal is filled in the balls before they are sealed with lac.
  • Lac is brought from Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and the female scale insect is one of the sources of lac.
  • The lac insects also yield resin, lac dye and lac wax.

Q1) What is resin?

In polymer chemistry and materials science, resin is a solid or highly viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin that is typically convertible into polymers. Plants secrete resins for their protective benefits in response to injury. The resin protects the plant from insects and pathogens.

Source: Explained: On Holi, a look at Jaipur’s traditional celebrations with ‘Gulaal Gota’