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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 nowadays.

This is the time of purity and peace, meditation and prayer. The right perfume for this tranquil hour has to be something almost aromaless and therapeutic.
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 relaxed.

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 with.

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 lime-ice!
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 and incense.

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 specialists!




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