jasmine, rose, marigold and champa flower would
adorn the ceiling and walls. Vetiver blinds would
cover the windows, releasing the cool green scent
with each breeze. Silver and glass bowls of flowers
and fruits were set by the bed and composed with
the care of bouquets: citron at the bottom, overlaid
with jasmine blossoms, topped with layers of roses
and champa flowers, and then sprinkled with rose
water. When the incense was lit, the bedsheets would
be lifted above the aromatic smoke, so as to capture
the fragrance in the material. The effect would be
“enticing, invigorating and pleasure giving.” 5
The sultan, was seen as divine, and as such,
enjoyed a bathing ritual enwrapped in mythology
and meaning; the perfect balance of aromas speaking
of perfection within.
He would be bathed in violet and rose water, then
rubbed with fragrant sandalwood and rosewater
paste, which was beautifully scented and cooling
to the skin. Sandalwood powder would be combed
through his hair, and he would chew on peels of
fruit and scented wood to keep his royal breath fresh
while having perfumed paste applied to his body.
The Sultan’s clothing would be dyed with aromatic
woods and brick ash, and then perfumed by lifting
them over burning agar wood.
In 1469, a sultan named Ghiyath Shahi wrote
the Book of Delights, a rather detailed recipe book
instructing the use of herbs, flowers, woods and
resins in both perfume and food preparation.
Many chapters focus on perfumes for the "House
of Pleasure," the moniker for the royal harem. One
recipe details the preparation of Abir, a complex
and gorgeously perfumed paste for the body which
A staple of Indian culture, the use of incense transcended societal norms where both members of the royal court and civilians used it for daily rituals and ceremonies.