A Jaipur-based artist has painted canvases that emit a special type of fragrance. Chandra Prakash Gupta, 35, uses itra (perfumes) that lasts for years on his paintings.
"I love innovating with paintings. The idea came to me some years ago: 'What if I could paint works that had the fragrance of flowers?' Though it sounded like an impractical idea then, I felt that where there is a will there is a way," says the very happy artist.
He started his experiments in 2001 and painted a picture using itra; but the fragrance lasted only a short while.
"I continued to experiment and over time managed to get a fragrance that stayed for around three years. For this I used itras in which gulab (rose), mehendi (henna) and khas were the main components, because they have good staying power," says Gupta.
The painter says that though he gets most of the perfumes from Kannauj, several art buffs come to him with their own special itras.
Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh is known for the distilling of scents and is a centre for marketing perfumes, rose water and tobacco.
Gupta not only mixes the colours with the fragrances, he also treats the canvas and the base cloth of the painting with itra to ensure that the scent lasts longer.
"These paintings are costlier than normal paintings, so most people are reluctant to buy them," says Gupta. "But those who do buy them, often come back to me years later to retreat them with the lost scent."