< Back to forest Recipes


Himachal perfume is a blend of many conifer oils and absolutes that call to mind the exhilarating feeling of standing in the Himalayan mountain range high above the Kullu Valley in the month of October several years ago. Mr. Nandlal, a resident of Kullu and a fine distiller of essential oils had taken my colleague, Ramakant Harlalka and I on a winding dirt road up into the mountains high above the valley where we could gain a grand view of this ancient part of India. The narrow path took us through groves of elegant native species of fir, cedar and pines. As the cool autumn air moved through their graceful boughs their individual essences were collected into a sublime elixir that we happily partook of as our eyes gazed upon a scene of ancient and ethereal beauty.

Far below us the sacred Beas river wound us way from the higher Himalayan reaches towards the entrance of the valley to the south. Small farms s graced the valley floor and here and there one could see rugged homesteads established on steep mountain slopes. It was the harvest season and on the roofs of these stolid dwellings golden corn was drying in the sun. Temples too found their natural place amidst this scene of sublime beauty. Far off in the distance one could see the luminous snow-capped majestic peaks of the Pir Piranj range to the north brought into sharp relief by the golden rays of the afternoon sun.

Along with the visible beauty and aroma in which we were enveloped there was a feeling of something intangible to the physical senses-something quite beyond time and space which one often encounter in their journeys throughout this ancient land. Sages and seers have for countless generations retired into these quiet mountain retreats to meditate on the mystery of life and perhaps the influence of their devotion imparts to the atmosphere something of their quiet introspective pursuits. The feeling is so wonderful and comes without any planning on ones own part-a sort of gentle grace which makes one aware that there is a glorious hidden life of which we all partake. I hope that this small perfume offering can convey something of the feeling of that memorable day.