The color used to play Holi in ancient
was extracted from Tesu flowers which bloom during the spring season. It is believed that Lord Krishna played Holi with Radha using colors made from Tesu flowers. Even today many of the temples in Vrindavan, Braj area and India play Holi with traditional yellowish-orange coloured water extracted from dried Tesu Flowers. Mathura
Tesu Flowers is also known as the flame of the forest and is the flower of the Palash tree. It is believed to possess medicinal properties and is also good for the skin.
Fresh Tesu flowers are used to welcome guests and it is also used to sprinkle water on devotees during Holi.
The flowers are soaked overnight in water and can also be boiled to obtain fragrant yellowish – orange coloured water.
The dried flowers can be dried and powdered for an orange powder.
Source - image from Anasari's flickr photstream