All You Need To Know About Travelling To Kannauj: City For Perfumes

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Photo of All You Need To Know About Travelling To Kannauj: City For Perfumes by Varsha Banerjee (Crazy Jetsetters)

Musk, wood, melon or rose: perfumes have the power to enchant your senses and cast a magical spell of love that can freeze time, triggering pheromones and whisking you away to the moments that ignite passion. In this article, we will unveil the 'Perfume Capital of India - Kannauj.'

A haven for cognoscenti, Kannauj lures travellers from near and far who are connected by the love for finely-crafted perfumes and alcohol-free attars; stepping into this very land of exquisite scents, navigating your way through the buzzing alleys of Kannauj, where each turn unravels a new chapter in your olfactory adventure, with every floral note trying to whisper an aromatic tale of the art of perfumery and crafting the most exquisite attars in the world. Read on to know why this place needs to be on your radar!

Chronicles of Kannauj: The Rise of Perfume Artistry in India

The art of crafting attar, the essence of perfume, has its roots to the Mughal era. Legend says that Noor Jahan, the wife of Jahangir, was enchanted by the fragrance of roses from Kannauj, which filled her bath in Agra and inspired the birth of attar. You may be surprised to learn that Kannauj roses share the same fragrance & specifications as Bulgarian roses, adding to the charm of this unique destination.

For centuries, Kannauj has been the pioneer of perfume artistry in India, thanks to its favourable weather and soil. These natural factors create a perfect setting for growing the herbs and flowers vital for making this fragrant wonder sealed in glass bottles, often known as ‘liquid gold’.

Unlocking The Secrets of Perfume-making in Kannauj

Perfume-making is a fine art, where master craftsmen, known as sazh, use the ancient traditional distillation technique called deg-bhapka. In this complex method, huge pots called deg are filled with flower petals and water, sealed with a special clay paste, and topped with lids. These pots are connected to vessels with long necks called bhapka.

Photo of All You Need To Know About Travelling To Kannauj: City For Perfumes by Varsha Banerjee (Crazy Jetsetters)

As the deg rests in fire, the bhapka, containing a base essential oil – usually sandalwood oil – rests in a cooling chamber with water. The oil captures the scent of the condensed vapour from the deg through a bamboo spout or tube. Despite its seemingly simple explanation, this process is both demanding and time-consuming, giving attar or oudh its deserved value.

The Art of Shaping Kannauj's Finest Magical Elixirs

Kannauj Perfumes got the GI tag in 2014, but more actions are required to make India a perfume paradise of the world, and turn it into a top-notch destination like Grasse, a lovely French town that is known to be the ‘perfume capital of the world.'

Home to many perfumers and noses, each passing on the art of making attar through generations, Kannauj, is well-known in the West but sadly, only a handful of Indians may be able to pin this place on the map. But mark my words, the scenario is going to transform much sooner than you think!

Photo of All You Need To Know About Travelling To Kannauj: City For Perfumes by Varsha Banerjee (Crazy Jetsetters)

One of the highly desired scents is the ‘mitti’ attar, which captures the essence of the first shower. Another favourite is Shamama, a kind of attar with deep woody notes and incredible staying power. Its popularity stems from the unique and mesmerizing fragrance that stimulates the olfactory senses.

Getting There

By Air: The nearest airport to Kannauj is Kanpur Airport, which is roughly 97 km away. From there, you can catch a taxi or hop on a bus or train to get to Kannauj.

By train: Kannauj has its own railway station, which is well-linked to other parts of Uttar Pradesh and India by fast and regular trains.

By road: Kannauj is about 141 km from Lucknow and around 220 km from Agra by road. You can drive to Kannauj via National Highway 24, also called the Grand Trunk Road. This road connects Delhi, Kannauj, and Kolkata.

Other Attractions to Visit

In case you are wondering, Kannauj is only good for tickling your nose with its fragrances, let me assure you, there’s a whole lot more to Kannauj than just the perfume-related fun. You can discover the Archaeological Museum and be amazed by the clay idols that have survived the test of time or visit the Gauri Shankar and Annapurna temple to receive the grace of the divine. And if you’re a bird lover, you’re in for a treat! The Lakh Bahosi Sanctuary, home to hundreds of species of birds, and other wild creatures. is a haven for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Photo of All You Need To Know About Travelling To Kannauj: City For Perfumes by Varsha Banerjee (Crazy Jetsetters)

So, don’t miss the chance to take a small detour if you’re heading to Kanpur or Agra and include this exotic place that deserves a special mention in your travel plan, just in case you are thinking of visiting Uttar Pradesh anytime soon.

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