Alta (dye)

A ceremony welcoming the newly wed bride to her new home, with the feet dipped in a mixture of milk and alta.

Alta (also Mahawar or Rose Bengal) is a red dye which women in India and Bangladesh apply with cotton on the their hands and feet during marriages and festivals.[1] Alta was originally produced from lac though later it was replaced with synthetic dyes. The Oriya lexicon 'Purnachandra Bhashakosha' (1930s) describes how this lac-dye was prepared. For Hindus this has been a sacred dye known in Sanskrit as lakshya rasa.

See also


  1. Garg, Gaṅgā Rām. (1992). Encyclopaedia of the Hindu world, Volume 2. p. 348.
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