If you have a penchant for fragrances, do visit Dilli Haat at Janakpuri before 10.00 pm tomorrow. The Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) has organised a three-day festival Itra and Sugandhi Mela in association with Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre (FFDC), Kannauj and Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). Fragrance-lovers will get to explore the rich heritage of India in the field of natural perfumes and essential oils.
They will also get a chance to appreciate the efforts taken to preserve this age-old tradition, as various demonstrations are being conducted on itras, perfumes and fragrances are created.
“The idea behind holding this festival is to highlight the ancient and rich heritage of India in the field of natural perfumes and essential oils and also expose the younger generation towards aromas and the traditional way of making these,” says Sudhir Sobti, Chief Manager, DTTDC.
Around 40 manufacturers of itras, perfumes, fragrances, incense sticks and dhoop are participating in the festival. On display is an extensive collection and sale of natural essential oils, itras, sugandhi, exotic scented candles, wooden boxes and velvet boxes used for perfumes in traditional bottles, incense sticks and dhoops. The FFDC has brought in experts to speak on various aspects of itras and sugandhis, aromatherapy and essential oils.
“On November 9 and 10 evening, we have a series of presentations and seminars to educate people on how essential oils are extracted from flowers and how itras, perfumes and other fragrances are made from these oils,” says SV Shukla, Principal Director, FFDC, MSME, adding, “Visitors will also be informed about education & training, career opportunities and business potential in the field.”
Then there are live demonstrations of deg process (traditional way of rosewater distillation); of how to make kuppi (handmade leather bottle) and on-the-spot perfume and sugandhi making counters. Also the art of making agarbattis and dhoops will be taught.
“Visitors will get to know a lot many things like most of the itras you get in the market are improvised ones. This is because essential oils are very expensive and not all can afford these. Itras were earlier worn by sheikhs, the exceptionally rich people of yore,” says Rohit Seth, President, Sugandh Vyapar Sangh.
“Flowers don’t come cheap, rose comes at Rs 8-10 lakh per kg while agarwood (a tree native to Assam) is anywhere between Rs 12-13 lakh per kg,” he informs.
“A few cultural activities have also been planned to entertain visitors in the evenings in association with the Punjabi Academy,” says Seth, adding that many exporters and traders from all over India are participating in it.
Scents in trend
Agarwood is most preferred fragrance today. Earlier, it was patronised by West and UAE, but now an increasing number of Indians are opting for it. Lemon Grass, Rose and Jasmine compete for the position of next most-preferred scent.