Perfume has been traditionally used for hundreds of years all over the world including in ancient cultures like India. The tradition of using attars in India dates back centuries and there are very famous attar shops all over the country that use the traditional methods to make attar even today. Old Delhi has many famous attar shops as this is an ancient part of the capital city of India and the main culture of the city can be witnessed here.
Old Delhi Perfumeries
Old Delhi was built in 1659 and this area has developed over centuries and still has an old-world charm to it. Chandni Chowk is a great street in Delhi with many famous eateries and small shops often visited by tourists today. Old Delhi was the capital of the Mughal Empire and remnants of the empire are seen even today. Next to Chandni Chowk is Dariba Kalan which is a famous street known for its perfume shops and one of the most famous perfume shops on this street is Gulab Singh Johrimal.
This shop is run by Praful Gundhi and has been in business for 200 years and seven generations of this family have run this shop. The Gulab Singh Johrimal shop is very famous and tourists and locals from all backgrounds buy scents at this shop. Passing by shops like these also helps tourists and locals smell the sublime scents from these shops.
Gulab Singh Johrimal
Dariba Kalan is a very popular street with tourists and locals and this busy street is full of cars, tourists, rickshaws, buses, and even horses and goats are often seen on a street like this. Gulab Singh Johrimal has scents kept on carved wooden shelves, a beautiful old vintage wooden clock and a small sign that is an old sign in the shop bearing the date of the establishment of the shop in 1816. Seven generations of the same family are currently running this shop and there are unconfirmed reports that this shop was ransacked during the conflict between Indian soldiers and British during the 1857 conflict.
Famous Attars and Perfumes at Gulab Singh Johrimal
There are many traditional attars and perfumes available at this shop. Many of the perfumes are made by distilling flowers that grow in nearby regions of India. This process of distillation dates back thousands of years and was revived in ancient India by the Mughal emperors that traveled to India from Central Asia in the Middle Ages. Some of the popular scents are made with flowers like Mogra which is an Indian jasmine flower, lotus, frangipani, vetiver root, and khus. The distillation process is an ancient one with suspending flowers into boiling water containers that are sealed. Kewra, rose, and saffron are other scents that are distilled using this process. One of the most famous scents at this shop include is the Attar Mitti which is a favorite with tourists as well as locals.
Attar Mitti – A Perfume that Showcases the Scent of Rain & Monsoon
Attar Mitti or Gill is a fragrance that harnesses the scent of the monsoon. It has a rich, warm and woody fragrance. There is a spell juicy scent on the earth and mud when the first rains arrive during the monsoon season. This fragrance happens when a parched summer dry earth meets the first rains of the monsoon season. Capturing this fragrance and aroma into an attar is a great achievement by Gulab Singh Johrimal. This scent reminds people of the monsoon and it is like capturing the scent of the first rains and this attar can be used all year round. In the sweaty and hot summers, this is a perfect scent to remind people that monsoons are on their way. This attar is made by using raw materials like heating broken earthenware with various aromas like sandalwood oil.
A perfume based on mud is something that most people cannot fathom but this attar truly is inspired by the aroma of the first rains. The Gulab Singh Johrimal Shop is a great shop in the Old Delhi area of the city selling different types of perfumes and Indian attars. The Mitti Attar is special attar at this shop that harnesses the aroma of the first monsoon and is popular with people from Delhi as well as tourists visiting Delhi.