Mehendi is an integral part of the Indian tradition. At weddings, on festivals and on a number of special occasion, Mehendi is applied. It is simple form of applying temporary henna tattoos decorating the palms and the feet with various designs.
Similarly, Alta, is also a part of the India culture. Alta, is red dye that is used to decorate the palms and the feet. It is mostly applied by the women from Bengal, Orissa and eastern parts of India. Unlike Mehendi, Alta is applied using cotton. It doesn’t form a design, but is used to dye the hands and feet.
In India, as per the Tradition, after the wedding when the bride enters her husband’s house for the first time, she has to first step her feet onto a plate of Alta, leaving red footsteps behind.
Alta, is known to be originally produced from Lac. It was later replaced with synthetic dyes.
During Durga Puja, Bengali women apply Alta on the feet. Also, it is applied by a number of women on Karva Chauth. The dye used to produce Alta was considered as sacred by the Hindus. It was known as aslakshya rasa.
Alta is applied during performing the Indian classical dance forms like Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri etc. It is a crucial part of the get-up of these dance forms. The Alta dye is red in colour, which represents blood and fertility. The vibrant colour on the palms make for excellent gestures during the dance performances.
Alta, for years, have decorated the palms and feet with its vibrant colour and continues to do so.
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