India houses a multiplicity of scents that has almost every type of scent that would please the olfactories of perfume lovers. From time immemorial perfumes have been linked to divinity, beauty and sensuality in India.
The inception of the attar culture in India was believed to be by Noor Jahan who was the Mughal Emperor Jehangirs Wife. Her Hamam( Bathing water) was infused with rose petals that radiated her beauty . A thin film of oil was found in her infused water which was later on called Ruh Gulab (The nectar/ oil of Rose) by perfumers.
Most of the attars are extracted from the base of flowers, some from spices like the Henna attar and Khus that’s extracted from the accords of grass.
The difference between attars and perfumes available today is that attars are a blend of naturally extracted perfume essential oils in their truest form. Perfumes are created with these oils are intertwined with alcohol.
Through the years attars have paved their way into the lives of people through various practices. Religiously attars are used by a majority of religious sects like Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism to name a few.
Some of the most popular elements that make for attars in India are:
- Ruh Kewda: Ganjam Kewda Rooh is a plant that is native to the state of Odisha in India. Popularly found in the Ganjam district of Odisha this plant sources its name from there. The oil is extracted from the male Kewda flowers. It takes about a couple of hundreds to make about an ounce of this oil.
- Sandal: Sandalwood is a popular Indian fragrant note that is derived from the class of woods from the trees in the genus Santalum. Sandalwood is often mentioned in the ayurvedic practices used for medicinal, beauty and spiritual practices.
- Shamama: Shamama is a unique essential oil and the result of a unique combination of raw materials, with a formula that is still a closely guarded secret today. Unlike other distilled essential oils, Shamama is created manually by real artisans. Shamama is a traditional attar, and it has a secret formula for each producer. It contains 20+ different herbs and spices mixed together in different ratios, which go into the water distillation still. Shamama Shahi Attar finds usage as fragrance in exotic skin care formulations. Blending well with Sandalwood, Musk, Amber, Ylang-Ylang and Jasmine, the attar is also used as a base with natural perfume oil. Further, it also finds application in aromatherapy based treatment.
- Ruh Khus: Earthy, rich ruh khus, also known as wild vetiver, is grounding, emotionally centering and will help to overcome intellectual fatigue. Ruh Khus essential oil, also known as wild vetiver, has nervous system stabilizing and uplifting properties, making it a good choice for helping to reduce stress and depression. Its balancing effect helps ease nervous tension and excessive energy while helping to concentrate the mind, to organize scattered thoughts and to overcome intellectual fatigue. A natural tranquilizer, it can also assist with sleep and insomnia concerns. Its superior grounding properties make ruh khus essential oil an overall effective choice for emotional centering.
- Ruh Motia: The Motia attar is Jasmine Sambac distilled into Sandalwood oil.
- Majmua: Majmua attar is a perfect blend of four different attars. It is surprisingly refreshing, woody and sweet. The best part about this natural attar is its strong scent that keeps lingering long after spraying. It is one of the most popular attar in India and is equally used all over the world. It is widely used for the religious purposes and often, people from the Muslim community apply this before going for ‘Namaaz’. Hindu communities apply this for performing ‘Puja’.
- Ruh Gulab: Rose oil obtained from the fresh flower of rose damascena, cultivated in Uttar Pradesh. It is a transparent pale yellow mobile liquid. This oil is valued in the preparation of high grid perfumery and cosmetic products. Gulab attar is prepared from the fresh and selected flower of rose. It is prepared on sandal wood oil and base oil.The Gulab attar (Rose oil) is broadly used in aromatherapy techniques to treat the problems like stress, anxiety, mental tension and depression.
- Ruh Heena : Hina Attar is prepared by hydro distillation method from Mehndi flower. This attar is prepared using base of Pure Sandalwood oil and has a balancing smell of both Heena & Indian Sandalwood oil.