Banarasi Kattha- For distinct red color in Paan

Banarasi Kattha

“Paan khaye saiyan hamaar”- many of us have heard this melodious song from yesteryears. Well, these lines translate to “my beloved has eaten Paan”. Such is the importance of Paan that many songs and cities have deep connection to this humble leaf. 

For starters, Paan is the flat betel leaf with a variety of toppings that make it an excellent mouth freshener and mouth sweetener.


 Among the many additions on betel leaf like areca nuts, coconut slices, saffron that help prepare the delectable Paan, Kattha or Catechu is one of the main ingredients. It is combined with lime (chuna) to get the red color that is so distinct from chewing Paan.


We will learn more about Kattha in this blog. Let’s first understand what makes Paan so popular.

Banarasi Paan

Paan is an earthy-sweet delicacy that is considered sacred in some parts of India. The legend has it that Lord Shiva and Parvati Ji planted the Paan seed at the revered Mount Kailash. From there it was transported to Kashi, another name for Banaras. The city of Banaras is famous for temples, Banarasi Saris, and of course Banarasi Paan.

According to another folklore, when Lord Hanuman visited Sita Ji in Ashok Vatika, she welcomed him with a garland of Paan leaves. Till this date, devotees offer Paan to Lord Hanuman as a token of reverence in Banaras.

Kattha or Catechu

As mentioned before, Kattha is the principal ingredient used to provide the characteristic reddish-brown color to Paan.

Kattha is an extract from acacia trees. In addition to being used in Paan, it is used as an astringent, dye, tannin, and food additive.

Banarasi Kattha

Paan is an emotion in Banaras. Banarasi Paan combines exotic ingredients among which Banarasi Kattha is an integral one. Kattha has many curative and healing health benefits.

It has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. It is also believed to manage diarrhea and protect the liver.

Because of its prominent flavor, Kattha is used in very small quantities.


Kattha powder is mixed with water and applied as a thin layer along with chuna on the betel leaf to make Paan.

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