A fragrant comeback

A fragrant comeback


The second ‘Itra and Sugandhi Mela’ brought unique and natural fragrances under one roof for Delhiites along with the people who create these fragrances.

The four-day fair held at Pitam Pura Dilli Haat highlighted the ancient and rich heritage of India in the field of natural perfumes and essential oils with sale-cum-exhibition from itr traders and makers from Delhi and Kannauj, known as Itr City.

The festival provided ample shopping opportunities for those interested in purchasing Indian perfumes, itr, exotic aggarbattis, dhoopbattis, scented candles, essential oils and other scented products.

“I bought khas essential oil and rose itr for my daughter and pain relieving essential oil for myself from a stall set up by itr makers from Kannauj, which is famous for its itr the world over,” said Vimla Prasad who visited the mela.

People thronged the mela in large numbers that concluded recently. The festival also demonstrated the art and science behind the process of rose water distillation.
“This year was an effort to throw light on people who usually stay behind the scenes and create these fragrances. Making of dhoops, aggarbatis and dhoopbattis and traditional packaging for itr was also demonstrated at the festival,” said Sudhir Sobti, manager, public relations and publicity, Delhi Tourism.

“We participated for the first time. The response has been very good. Most people preferred buying oil for skincare and pain relief. People also bought essential oils that are 100 per cent natural,” said Swapnil Pathak, whose family has been in the business of itr and essential oil making since 1911 in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh.

Kannauj is the largest itr producing centre in India and is also known as Itr City as this is the only place in the country which has managed to keep its century old tradition of itr making intact. It is said that even the sewages of this town smell of flowers. A handful of itr traders of Kannauj have been supplying the most sought after fragrance to the royal families across the world.

Natural oil trader from Kannauj, Abhishek Pathak informed that around 20 kg itr is made in two days. “Unlike perfumes, itr can be rubbed directly on the body. The best thing about itr is that its fragrance stays on the body for about 8 to 10 hours, while perfume has alcohol content and its fragrance vanishes in sunlight,” said Abhishek who took part in the event for the first time.

Other highlights of the event were lectures about itr, sugandhi, and aromatherapy by experts from Kannauj.