Flowering trees of India – Dhak, Palash, Chamata, Modugu Chettu or Tesu tree
This Palash tree (Butea Monosperma) was blooming in March 2010 opposite the Neeldhara car-parking in Haridwar.
Palash, Dhak, Palah or Tesu tree is a common sight in North, Central, South and North East India. It grows from seed. The tree has medicinal value in Ayurveda.
In Kerala Palash is called Plasu or Chamata. The wood is essential as firewood for yagya, agnihotra, worship by offering of mantras to fire. It is nearly as common as the holy tulsi in homes of Namboodari Brahmins in Kerala. Palash flowers are also used for worship of Lord Shiva, especially in Andhra Pradesh.
Holi with tesu flowers
The tesu flowers are traditionally used for colour-play in the spring festival of Holi. Tesu flowers are boiled in water to give a fragrant, deep yellow water which has medicinal properties and prevents skin problems in the coming summer.
For Holi celebrations, Vrindavan’s Radha Vallabh temple uses warm tesu water from huge silver cauldrons, and brass water sprinklers – pichkaris to spray colour on everyone in the temple courtyard.
A bunch of palash flowers