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The meaning of colour

Colour probably has more significance in every day life in India than anywhere else in the world. India is the land of colour.

Each colour has a significance. A religious meaning too.

And there is an occasion for each rang.

Can you wear black to a wedding? Why is sindhoor red? Why are festival colours red and green. Why is saffron special?

In Hinduism gunas play a special role. They represent the qualities and states of existence. Tamas, sattva and rajas are these three mental states. Interestingly each guna has a color. Sattva is about peace, calm and brightness. It is represented by white. Rajas indicates passion, heat, spirit, energy, dynamism. It is red. And tamas is the least desirable state. It stands for anger, darkness, negativity, lack of energy, inertia. Black is its colour.

Apart from these three colours that directly represent the gunas, each colour has a finer significance.

Lal or red suggest sensuality. But it also symbolizes purity. It actually rides a thin line between both. Red is worn at weddings. It is also the colour of sindhoor and tikkas. Red is about energy and passion. Goddesses Durga and Lakshmi wear red.

Also See: Himalayan kingdoms

Imaging: Uttam Ghosh

Photograph: NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images

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