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Mala Perfume

Mala Perfume

"I was in the courtyard beneath a young bakula tree so heavy with clusters of buds that bees swarmed thickly around its wine sweet perfume and the fallen flowers were in such great heaps I began to amuse myself weaving these into an intricate garland."
Bhavabhuti(8th century A. D.) Malati Mahavam

One of the most lovely aromatic traditions of India centers around the act of giving and receiving garlands or malas as they are called in Hindi. At almost any auspicious event, i.e. marriages, spiritual gatherings, special social events, the aromatic flower garland plays a significant role. Also garlands play an important part in daily worship in Indian temples, indicating in their offering by the devotees, their humble devotion and love for the grand mystery of life represented by various gods and goddesses.

The garland markets that are often located in close proximity to the temples offer an enchanting view of the ancient world which garlands represent. Throughout India, during the course of the day, thousands of people quietly weave simple and elaborate garlands made of Jasmin sambac, Tuberose, Marigolds, Rosa centifolia, Rosa bourbonia, Holy Basil, Davana, Bakul Flowers and several other aromatic flowers and herbs. Toward evening the air becomes saturated with a divine bouquet that is the result of the co-mingling of the aromas of the above mentioned botanicals. The rich, exotic, floral notes meld with the deep green herbaceous notes of basil, davana and marigold producing an enchanting elixir that refreshes the heart and soul while at the same time producing a feeing of calm and relaxation. Over the years I have had the opportunity to stroll amidst the simple stands of garland vendors in the Matunga section of Mumbai where one can, at no cost, drink in the heady draught of garlands strung with hundreds, sometimes thousands of Jasmin sambac, Tuberose, etc. whose aroma saturates the surrounding atmosphere. In memory of those precious evenings the Mala Perfume came into existence.

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