Sunday, 18 March 2018

Therapeutic qualities keep Attar business blooming

18/3/2018

PUNE: The fragrance will catch your attention even before you can see the shop, and once there, the beautiful and intricate vials and bottles will captivate you. The quaint charms of attar shops have attracted customers for ages, and they will continue to do so.

In the city, attar shops thrive. Even branded perfumes and deodorants are not able to snuff out their business. In fact, in recent times, more people are rediscovering the benefits of natural and organic attars.

The use of attar, or perfumes made from essential oils has been going up due to their therapeutic benefits. “Synthetic perfumes only have the fragrance but attars are made using natural essential oils, which offer therapeutic benefits to the user. Many people have again started using attar,” said Shreyas Sugandhi of Vitthaldas Narayandas and Sons, one of the oldest attar stores in the city.

Established in 1883, VN and Sons started out selling spices and attar. “The store was established by my great-grandfather Manmohandas Sugandhi. Over the years, we expanded our business to include hand-rolled incense sticks and pooja items. Once the synthetic perfumes hit the market, the use of attar diminished. Attar is used for deities, and people do not compromise when it comes to religious traditions,” said Sugandhi.

Over the last few years, attars have also found admirers abroad. “Knowing that attar is a natural perfume, many foreigners come to our store. Through word of mouth, awareness about attars and their benefits have spread,” Sugandhi said.

Nadeem Yakub Attar of Goodluck Perfumers and Jahagirdar Agarbatti Company said over the years, the attar market in the city has become more organised. “The competition has increased. While there were two or three attar makers in the city about 100 years ago, now there are many. Attar was first sold loose, but now we have launched Ajwa, our attar brand which is sold in proper bottles,” he said.

“With natural attar, we also sell synthetic perfumes at our store. Apart from that, the incense sticks business is also doing very well and we sell our products Abhiman and Chintan across the country. The business was started nearly 100 years ago by our grandfather Abdul Qadar Attar. Today, two of my brothers and me are running it. We have managed to expand the business and launch new products every year,” he said.

Sugandhi and Attar believe the new-popularity of attar will ensure that the manufacturers flourish for a long time to come.

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