Perfumed smelled boudoirs, exotic smells
scenting the very airs of prayer chambers - those are some of images
that rise up in the mind about India right? However, there's a method
to the headiness; incense sticks, herbs and flowers are not used just
randomly. Each time of the day is complemented with a specific scent.
All the plants mentioned below are available in incense or oil form
This is the time of purity and peace, meditation and prayer. The right
perfume for this tranquil hour has to be something almost aromaless
Lotus (Padma, Kamal): Subtle, often-seen-but-rarely-smelt. But the
modest lotus is supposed to focus the mind and aid concentration. Plus
since it's also an effective astringent, it makes your house smell
pure and clean - ready for your dawn meditation or studies.
Flame of Forest (Palasha, Dhak): Palash has a strong erotic
association but the alter ego of the vibrant suggestive red flower is
the dye it produces, which Buddhist monks use to color their robes.
So, curiously enough, this flower also stands for renunciation. As an
incense, the almost unscented palash helps you maintain a calm frame
of mind. Incidentally its gentle aroma is very soothing during PMS.
Camphor (Karpuram, Kapur): Camphor is burned in India during prayers
pretty regularly. Probably because it's so strong as a disinfectant
that it is used to sterilize rooms during epidemics. Camphor also has
a very soothing effect on the mind - going so far as to actively help
people suffering from neuralgia. And next time you're laid up in bed
with a cold, try camphor as incense, if you can't as a vapor.
Buddhist Norbhu incenses: Yes, Buddhist is the latest rage, but Norbhu
incense sticks have yet to catch up with all the hype. They are mixed
from various Himalayan herbs and are ideal props for meditation.
Norbhus are have a curious scentless-scent, but they pack a powerful
punch. Even a few seconds after burning them you will feel distinctly
Nobody in the whole world will ever come close to bottling the sheer
exhilaration of a fresh new morning, but you can try!
Holy Basil (Tulasi): Modern Science, with all its amazing genius, has
finally conceded that the Indians had got it right all along. It is
now official that this modest aromatic shrub perceptibly purifies the
air within a wide radius of its vicinity, proving especially effective
in the mornings. So jumpstart your day with a whiff of tulasi.
Cinnamom (Tvak, Dalchini): This one was a bestseller with the ancient
Egyptians and Indians. Today cinnamon oil is generally used in the
mixture that goes into making incense sticks. Cinnamon does wonders to
early morning stiffness in the limbs. Also used as an oil, in tea or
simply as a concoction will do wonders to headaches.
Saffron (Kumkuma, Kesar): This one might have been made-to-order for
Monday mornings; saffron is extremely effective in curing melancholia!
Its also deliciously mild and pleasant to enjoy some morning peace
Summers can get very hot in India; when it's hundred degrees in the
shade, it's amazing to cool off with more than a tall glass of
Sandalwood (Chandan, Safed Chandan): Sandalwood is something India has
been associated with since the Raj. In fact its use here has been
dated as far back as 400BC. And no wonder - not only can it help keep
you cool, it's also used to make erotic perfumes and pastes - blowing
hot and cold in the same breath, so to speak! Sandalwood incense does
have an extremely soothing and cooling effect on your body and mind.
What's more, it is also an effective tranquilizer; so light a chandan
incense stick and stretch out for a long cool siesta.
Vetiver (Khus, Ushira): Khus has always been associated with burning
summer noons, especially in Northern India. Tales of Mughal and
British India are full of swooning beauties who couldn't do without
their khus curtains and the bhisti watering them. Khus is amazing as
an oil; also it can be drunk as a sherbet. It is especially
recommended for headaches and heatstroke.
Dusk is the time of retreat to a private world. A tranquil time with
the family. It is also the time for pleasant flowery smells.
Jasmine (Jati, Mogra): After a drowsy afternoon, what one requires is
something that will rouse one gently out of a stupor. The time is just
right for jasmine incense. Its extremely refreshing bouquet is
available in incense, oils and perfumes.
Golden Champaka (Champaka, Champa): After a tough day, this oil or
incense of this flower is an amazing de-stresser. The rich, soothing
musky champa smell is very relaxing.
Rose (Shatapatri, Gulab): It's quite a relief to know that a rose by
any other name would have smelled just as sweet. Especially
considering the smell is extremely cooling and acts as an amazing
fumigant. The smell of the rose leaves you with a lingering and
infectious feeling of well-being. Its available as oil, perfume, attar
As dusk moves deeper into evening, the scent of the hour gets headier.
Hibiscus (Jabakusum, Gurhal): The common shoeflower's smell can turn
quite a few heads! In fact according to our ancient treatises in India
there's nothing more erotic than the sight of a red hibiscus on a
woman's bare skin! As an incense or oil, Hibiscus is heavy and of
course extremely sensual. Handle with care!
Fragrant Screw Pine (Ketaki, Kevda): Hmm… very suggestive name! The
kevda however is not a specialist only on things erotic, it's just as
comforting for a headache; whichever you prefer!J
A time for soothing, somnolent smells which send you off to bed.
Kadamba (Kadam): The wine-smell of the kadam goes a long way in making
you feel comfy, cosy and snug in your bedroom at night. This smell is
also very comforting in nights you feel restless and disturbed.
Henna (Madayantika, Mehendi): You must be familiar with henna as
something you make pretty designs or temporary tattoos with. However
in India it's also used as a natural dye and coolant. Its leaves are
very effective tranquilizers. Incense sticks made of henna flowers
have a very pleasant smell.
Of course nowadays you can get incense
and oils of all sorts of stuff - pineapple, orange and lots of such
fun stuff. Well, do have fun, but when in need turn to these