Ramzan 2024: Attar, timeless fragrance of Hyderabad's cultural heritage

Over 500 varieties of Attar priced at Rs 20 - Rs 2 lakh per tola are available in Hyderabad reflecting cultural heritage.

Ramzan 2024:  Attar, timeless fragrance of Hyderabads cultural heritage

HYDERABAD: The bustling streets of Hyderabad, known for its rich cultural heritage and culinary delights, offer another sensory delight - the enchanting world of Attar, the non-alcoholic perfume. The fragrance wafts through the nostrils of denizens walking the aisle on the street.

Hyderabadis are known for their discerning taste in perfumes, and they particularly favour the allure of Attar with its rich history and diverse fragrances.

In the heart of Hyderabad, where the aroma of biryani mingles with the scent of jasmine, Attar finds its home among the city's residents.

Also Read: Ramadan 2024: Must do things if you are in Hyderabad!

Muslims in Hyderabad hold a special reverence for Attar, often applying it before congregational prayers in mosques and shrines. During the holy month of Ramadan or Ramzan, its usage escalates, with believers adorning themselves with the fragrant oil as they partake in the spiritual journey of fasting and prayer.

Religious culture

The festive occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr sees a surge in the use of Attar, as Hyderabadis don new clothes and apply the perfume before offering grand prayers in large gatherings. This tradition, steeped in religious and cultural significance, underscores the integral role of Attar in Hyderabad's festive celebrations.

Hyderabad boasts of a vibrant marketplace for Attar, with over 500 varieties available to tantalize the senses. Each Attar offers a unique olfactory experience, from the delicate notes of Jannatu-ul-Firdous to the earthy allure of Ood and Sandal-e-Surkh. Prices range from a modest Rs 20 per tola to a staggering Rs 2 lakh for premium brands like Al Hassa, crafted from rare ingredients such as Red Rose in Saudi Arabia.

The standard grade of Jannatu-ul-Firdous, Majmooa, Majmooa 96, Heena, and Shamama typically cost around Rs 200 to Rs 1,000 per 10 grams. The second grade of Jannatu-l Firdous, Ood, Dahanul-Ood, Baqoor, Amber, Mushk, Amber+Mushk, Heena, Chandan, Chandan-e-Surkh, Gulab, Khuss, Chameli, and Motiya range from Rs 1,500 to Rs 5,000 per tola. The highly pure quality of Attar of Ood, Dahanal-Ood, Sandal-e-Surkh, Gulab, and Jannatul Firdous costs Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000 per tola.

Bin Mahfooz Perfumers at Maozamjahi Market, a renowned establishment in Hyderabad, attests to the enduring popularity of Attar. Saad Khaled Bin Mahfooz, the proprietor, notes that while sales soar during Ramadan, Attar remains an evergreen product accessible to all, thanks to its diverse range of varieties and price points.

Food for the soul

Attar is not merely a fragrance but is often regarded as "food for the soul" in Hyderabad. Its intoxicating aroma can uplift moods and leave a lasting impact on all who encounter it. Some Attars, such as Dhanul-Ood, are believed to possess hypnotic qualities, with anecdotes of their use as alternatives to anaesthesia in surgical procedures.

Moreover, Hyderabadis have a keen understanding of the seasonal nuances of fragrance, opting for cooling scents like Khas, Shamama, Sandal, and Gulab during the sweltering summer months. Premium Attars imported from the UAE and European countries, with exotic names like Amber Rose and Royal Woody, also find favour among the city's elite.

Also Read: Taraweeh Prayers: A significant aspect of Hyderabad's Ramadan observance

In a city where tradition intertwines seamlessly with modernity, Attar serves as a bridge between the past and the present. Top brands like Ajmal Perfumes have established a presence in Hyderabad, catering to the discerning tastes of VIP clientele who spare no expense in acquiring their preferred fragrances.

As Hyderabad continues to evolve, Attar remains a steadfast symbol of its cultural heritage and sensory richness. Attar stands out for its natural ingredients and timeless appeal in a world filled with synthetic fragrances, offering a fragrant journey through the annals of history and tradition.

Attar's enduring charm in Hyderabad is a testament to its timeless allure and cultural significance. It enriches the city's sensory landscape and leaves an indelible imprint on its residents.

Attar, derived from the Persian word "ittar," meaning perfume, is a fragrant oil typically extracted from flowers, herbs, spices, and natural materials through the process of steam distillation or cold pressing. Its history traces back to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, where it was used for its pleasing scent and therapeutic properties.

In Islamic tradition, Attar holds special significance, with references in the Quran and Hadith praising the use of perfumes. Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is said to have favoured fragrances and encouraged their use. This spiritual connection has led to the widespread adoption of Attar among Muslims, who often use it for personal adornment, prayer, and special occasions.

Production is arduous

The production of Attar is a labour-intensive process that requires meticulous care and craftsmanship. Skilled artisans carefully select and harvest flowers and herbs, which are then distilled to extract their aromatic essences. This process often involves traditional methods passed down through generations, ensuring that each bottle of Attar embodies centuries of knowledge and expertise.

In Islamic culture, Attar holds multifaceted significance. It is not just a fragrance but also an expression of one's personality, a symbol of one's faith, and a connection to the divine.

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