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|Solidity at 20 °C (68 °F)||liquid|
Ittar (Hindi/Urdu), also known as attar, is an essential oil derived from botanical sources. Most commonly these oils are extracted via hydro or steam distillation. They can also be expressed by chemical means but generally natural perfumes which qualify as ittars are distilled with water. The oils are generally distilled into a wood base such as sandalwood and then aged. The aging period can last from one to ten years depending on the botanicals used and the results desired. Technically ittars are distillates of flowers, herbs, spices and other natural materials such as baked soil over sandalwood oil/liquid paraffins using hydro distillation technique with deg and bhapka. These techniques are still in use today at Kannauj in India. This is one of the oldest natural fragrant materials, nearly 5000 years old. Some of the first lovers of ittars were the Mughal nobles of India. Jasmine ittar was the favorite perfume of the Nizams of the Hyderabad state. Traditionally in the Eastern world, it was a customary practice of nobility to offer ittar to their guests at the time of their departure. The ittars are traditionally given in ornate tiny crystal cut bottles called as itardans. This tradition of giving a scent to one's guests continues to this day in many parts of the Eastern world. Among Sufi worshipers the use of Ittars during meditation circles and dances is quite common.
The word 'attar', 'ittar' or 'itra' believed to have been derived from the Persian word itir, meaning 'perfume'.
Uses & Types
Ittars have special medical value and they are generally classified based on their effect on human body such as warm ittars’ such as musk, amber and kesar (saffron) are used in winters, they increase the body temperature. Cool ittars such as rose, jasmine, khus, kewda and mogra are used in summers and have cooling effect on the body.
Spirituality & Religion
For thousands of years ittars were used and understood to be something that attracted angels and warded off darkness or evil spirits. Saints and spiritual aspirants would adorn themselves with the finest scents to assist them in their journey towards enlightenment.
The different sects of Hinduism worship deities through household and temple offerings. Food, flowers incense etc. are commonly used.
- Attar of roses
- Bṛhat Saṃhitā
- Charaka Samhita
- Essential oil
- Kannauj Perfume
- List of essential oils
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