An integral part of the Diwali rituals in the household of a Marathi Manoos is Abhyanga Snan or the purifying bath. Before the bath, a fragrant herbal paste called Utna is applied to the body. It’s made out of special herbs which have therapeutic value. Traditionally the matriarch of the family would use the age old family recipe to make Utna. Sadly, all fine things from Diwali Faral (savouries) to Kandeels (lanterns) get outsourced… and the good old Utna meets the same fate. Most people grumble that this packaged Utna is not as fragrant and nourishing as their grandma’s concoction!
So for all those nostalgia cravers who want to recreate the magic of an era gone by, here is the method to make a perfect utna -
Take fine powders of the following herbs -
1 Tbsp Chandan (Santalum Album)
1 Tbsp Aambe Halad (Curcuma longa Linn)
1 Tbsp Khus (Andropogan Muricatus)
1 Tbsp Gulab (Rosa Centifolia)
1 Tbsp Santra Saal (Citrus Aurantium)
1 Tbsp Multani Mati (Fuller’s Earth)
1 Tbsp Nagarmotha (Cyperus Rotundus)
1 Tbsp Bawachi (Psoralea Corylifolia)
1 Tbsp Besan (Chickpea flour)
1 Tbsp Gawla Kachri (Kaempferia Galanga)
Click on this link to know more about these herbs.
You can buy these herbs @ Gora Gandhi in Parel and Patwardhan in Dadar.
Mix all the powders evenly to make a homogenous mixture. Store the mixture in an air-tight jar so that the powder does not loose its fragrance.
Add warm whole milk the utna powder to make a thin paste in a silver vessel. Apply all over the body 15 minutes before the bath. Gently rub on skin to exfoliate.
Hope you enjoy your fragrant Abhyangha Snan!