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Itar festival at Dilli Haat

art-and-culture Updated: Jan 31, 2012 17:30 IST

IANS
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The mellow fragrance of lavender comes wafting, men in traditional clothes beat drums, curious customers scrutinise little transparent bottles -- it's a scene out of the Itar and Sugandhi Festival.

The four-day festival (Jan 26-29) at Dilli Haat, Pitampura was organised by Delhi Tourism in collaboration with the Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre, Kannauj under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

To treat the olfactory senses of visitors, products ranging from itar, exotic agarbattis, dhoop, scented candles, essential oils, perfumes and room fresheners from Punjab, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Maharashtra were presented at the event.

"Synthetic perfumes which contain alcohol are very popular with people. But they are not aware about the various natural alcohol-free aromas which the domestic industry has to offer," Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre deputy director Shakti Vinay Shukla said.

"We want to promote this small industry as well as make the common man aware of itar and sugandhi which they often confuse as one and the same thing," Shukla told IANS.

He said the essential difference between the two is that while itar is used for external use, sugandhi is used as a flavour in food items.

The organisers set up a hydro-distillation apparatus used to manufacture 'itar' at the festival. They also asked aggarbatti and kuppi (containers for essential oils and scents) manufacturers to demonstrate the making process.

Mohammad Mustaqeen, a manufacturer, zealously explained how they make the leather kuppis.

"People from all the states who deal in itars get kuppis from me. Ours is a traditional art. Nobody pursues it except my family," he said.

Brijesh from Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh too had an excited audience around him. He demonstrated how agarbattis are made with powder of charcoal, jigat (maida lakdi) and bark of babool tree.

"We want people to understand the vital role itar and sugandhi play in our lives. Flavours for edible products, fragrance for external use... all come from this industry," said Shukla.