Lucknow, June 15: The smell of the first drops of rain on a parched ground is intoxicating. What if this smell could be captured in a bottle? A village in Uttar Pradesh is doing exactly that and selling it in the form of a perfume. A shop in the bustling Teen Darwaza area of old Ahmedabad houses the 'Mitti' attar or 'itr-e-khaki'.
Vivek Dilliwala, one of the oldest 'attar' sellers opposite Jumma Masjid reveals that the price ranges from Rs 120 to Rs 600 per 10 gms, depending on the purity of the perfume and the sandalwood oil added to it. A kilo of this fragrance might cost anywhere between Rs 38,000 and Rs 70,000 depending on factors like ageing and purity.
Narrating the process of making the perfume, Dilliwala said, "Mitti attar is prepared in Kannauj, the perfume capital of the country. A huge quantity of mud is first baked as cakes in a closed copper vessel to vaporise any residual moisture. Steam is then passed over this by a process called hydro-distillation. The distillation is carried out for around 45 days. The residue from the distillation is collected in sandalwood oil (a base for all attar perfume)".
Some of the attar shop owners reveal the medicinal value of the fragrance, which helps in curing mentally unstable patients. "There was something about this fragrance that calmed the unstable mind with its freshness. This fact has been passed on to us from our forefathers," sai done of them.
It is also said that the fragrance was quite popular among the Vaidyas for its medicinal value in the earlier days. While this was a regular practice 80 years ago, many do not know that they exist these days.
These fragrances have also found their way in Guthkas and tobacco.