It is ubiquitous in the South on religious occasions - is it also used in North India?
For example refer this
The rice doesn't seem to have been covered in turmeric.
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Yes it is used in north India as well.That white rice version only the one you shared in the link.
It is used as one of the offerings to deities while doing Pooja (Worship).
It is also used to make beautiful Alpana designs at the door of the houses.
It is used to put as Tilak on forehead as well.