Aromatic Ubtan for Abhyanga Snan or Royal Bath in Diwali
In Maharashtra, Narak-Chaturdashi is considered as the first day of Diwali. On this day a particular type of aromatic bath is taken called ‘Abhyanga Snan’. Before the bath, a fragrant herbal paste called Utna or Ubtan is applied to the body. It’s made out of special herbs which have a therapeutic value.
Following are the ingredients of Diwali Ubtan:
- Kapoor kachri (kaempferia galanga): Powder of dried rhizomes: 25 g
- Nagarmotha (Cyperus Rotundus): Powder of dried rhizomes: 25 g
- Vetiver powder (Chrysopogon zizanioides): Powder of dried roots: 25 g
- Haldi (Curcuma longa): Powder of dried rhizomes: 25 g
- Chandan (santalum album): Powdered heartwood: 25 g
- Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora): Powdered medicinal camphor: 25 g
- Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia): Powder of dried roots: 25 g
- Rose flower (Rosa centifolia): Powder of petals OR dry petals of rose: 25 g
- Orange (Citrus aurantium): Powder of dried fruit peel: 25 g
- Multani mitti (Fuller’s earth) 25 g
Mix all the powders thoroughly, and your Diwali Ubtan powder is ready!
Note: All the powders mentioned above are available in Ayurvedic medical stores. Read about the herbs which will keep you healthy during Diwali.
The procedure of Abhyanga Snan:
- Get up before sunrise on the first morning of Diwali, i.e., on the day of Naraka-Chaturdashi
- Apply aromatic Jasmine oil all over the body, before applying Ubtan.
- Add lukewarm water in Ubtan powder and make a thick paste. Warm milk or coconut milk can also be used to make this paste.
- Apply the layer of Ubtan paste on your skin wherever you have applied aromatic oil.
- Leave it for 10-15 mins and let it dry. If possible, make the morning sunrays fall on it.
- Take a hot water bath and remove the dried ubtan by gentle rubbing and massage.
- Use sandalwood or Rose scented bath soap for best results.
- Such bath can be taken on all mornings during Diwali.
This ubtan is very useful in nourishing and softening the skin. It’s a herbal scrub that removes all the dead cells from the skin and rejuvenates it. The pleasant herbal fragrance improves the mood and sense of well being. Read about how to celebrate green Diwali.
Karit fruit ritual:
According to a story mentioned in Shrimad Bhagwat Puran – A demon called Narakasura ruled Pragjyotishpur. The cruel rakshasa began harassing Deities and women alike. He imprisoned about 16,000 princesses who he won in battles and decided to marry them. This led to chaos.
When Lord Krishna heard of this, he and Satyabhama attacked the demon, killed him and set all the imprisoned princesses free. When dying Narkasur pleaded Lord Krishna for a boon, “On this day let the one who has an auspicious bath not suffer in hell. Lord granted him his wish.
Thus, Ashvin Chaturdashi was known as Narak Chaturdashi, and on this day people started having Abhyanga snan just before sunrise.
After the Abhyanga Snan, the Karit fruit (cucumis melo var agrestis) is crushed by pressing it under the large toe of the foot. This signifies killing of Narakasura the demon, a metaphor for all the negative thoughts. Its seeds are applied to the head, and a small drop of the extremely bitter fruit pulp is tasted.