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Empress Mumtaz Mahal died in giving birth to their 13th child. But he also mourned his queen in much more personal ways.

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For one thing, Jahan never again wore perfume. Then and now, Kannauj was the older dating Clarksville TN to fetch the fine scents—jasmine oils, rose waters, the roots of grasses called vetiver, with a bouquet cooling to the nose.

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Exactly when attar -making began there, no one is certain; archaeologists have unearthed clay distillation pots dating back thousands of years to the ancient Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley. But today, Kannauj is a hub of a historic perfumery that draws much of the town to the same pursuit. Most of the villagers there are connected to fragrance in one way or another—from sinewy craftsmen who steam petals over wood fires in hulking copper pots to mothers who roll incense sticks Pueblo CO naked dating the shade while their toddlers nap on colorful mats nearby.

Along with their ancient perfumery, the villagers of Kannauj have inherited a remarkable skill: They can capture the scent of rain.

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Every storm blows in on a scent, or leaves one behind. The metallic zing that can fill the air before a summer thunderstorm is from ozone, a molecule formed from the interaction of electrical discharges—in this case from lightning—with oxygen molecules.

Likewise, the familiar, musty odor that rises from streets and storm ponds during a deluge comes Flint boy looking for girl a compound called geosmin. A byproduct of bacteria, geosmin is what gives beets their earthy flavor. Rain also picks up odors from the molecules it meets. So its essence can come off as differently as all the flowers on all the continents—rose-obvious, barely there like a carnation, fleeting as a whiff of orange blossom as your car speeds past the grove. It depends on the type of storm, the part of the world where it free Jersey City NJ chat lines, and the subjective memory of the nose behind the sniff.

City rain smells of steaming asphalt, in contrast to the grassy sweetness of rain in the countryside. Ocean rain smells briny like Maine clam flats on a falling tide.

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In the desert of the southwestern United States, rare storms punch the atmosphere with creosote and sage. In the southeast, frequent squalls leave the damp freshness of a wet pine forest. In the otherwise dry places that depend on the free online dating Tallahassee and ukrainian for most of their annual rainfall, monsoons shape everything from childhood to culture to commerce.

And they arrive with a memory-searing scent. The scent can so tantalize drought-stricken animals that it sets thirsting cattle walking in circles. In the s and 60s, a pair of Australian mineralogists, Isabel Joy Bear and Richard Grenfell Thomas, set out to discover the source of that piquant perfume.

Ultimately, they linked the scent to organic compounds that build up in the atmosphere, including heady-smelling terpenes secreted by okcupid Greensboro NC dating. The major components in turpentine and resin, terpenes also put the essence in essential oils.

They are the freshness in pine, the cool in peppermint, the spice in ginger. Rocks and clay absorb terpenes and other molecules from the atmosphere like sponges, and during hot, dry stretches, desert-like places build up great stores of the compound.

Making perfume from the rain

When the humidity shifts ahead of monsoons, moisture loosens the material from its rocky pores and sends its pungency adrift on the wind. The aroma is more powerful in the wake of drought because the essential oils have had more time to build in the layers of rock. Publishing in the journal Nature inBear and Thomas proposed a name for the scent brought on by rain. But the scientists acknowledged that they were not the first to identify online dating in the Spartanburg SC stormy smell.

They were not even the first to extract it. In fact, what they had dubbed petrichor was already a ature fragrance produced in Kannauj.

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I was thrilled to learn that not only were the villagers still making the mitti attarcute Orlando Florida FL dates I could see the process for myself if I could make it to Kannauj on the eve of the i want to date an Tempe man. After flying 8, miles to India and taking a train to rural north-central Uttar Pradesh, I found myself in an ancient city holding tightly to the past. On its outskirts, fields planted with aromatic crops stretched for miles, interspersed harmony dating Valley AL the chimneys of hundreds of small-scale brick kilns for which the region is also known.

Like the attarsbricks are manufactured in Kannauj today like they were centuries ago—red-clay earth cut from topsoil, then stacked and fired by men whose fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers cut, stacked, and fired bricks too. In the crop rows, white jasmine flowers shaped like starfish bloomed in their ocean of waxy dark green. Twiggy trees called gul-hina were blooming too, their tiny flowers clustered into points of white flame.

It can take about pounds of flower petals or herbs, infused into a pound of sandalwood oil—the ideal and purest base for essential dating Visalia CA players make about one pound of pure attar. Extended families head out in the early mornings or cooler evenings to pick the fragile flowers. They pack their harvest in jute sacks, then rush, before the petals start to wilt, to one of two dozen steam distilleries in the town.

In modern times, Kannauj is also the name of a political district—a sprawling home to more than 1. But the old city retains much of its aromatic history; an estimated 40, of its 70, residents are engaged in the fragrance industry in one way or another.

When I arrived, I spotted small houses and perfume shops packed side-by-side on the streets. Colorful one-person Hindu temples were tucked here and there to honor gods. Cows wandered the road, and bicycles loaded perilously high with bundles of incense sticks wobbled by. When India opened its economy to foreign trade in the early s, brand-conscious young Indians began turning to French perfumes. But with many Indian states calling for bans on the cancer-causing materials, reliance on this single market may not be possible in the future.

Beyond the archway and down a dirt road, we arrived at the home of the Siyaram family, who sell scented earth from a pit behind their house to local perfumers. Covered with rainwater during the monsoons, the date an Massachusetts woman had dried out in the pre-monsoon summer.

The Siyarams—mother, father, and their grown children—used wooden sticks to break the parched earth, and water from a nearby pond drawn through a diesel pump to help them shape the earth into disks, which world dating Nebraska then baked in a primitive kiln.

Each generation had built part of the eclectic complex where the extended family also lived in a row of well-appointed white houses. A content-looking herd of water buffalo lounged in the shade of a pair of massive Indian lilac trees that separated the homes from the perfume-making.

If Kannauj felt last-century, the distillery where the company brews its essential oils, including the rain fragrance, was more last-millennium. There was no artificial lighting, no industrial machinery, no trace of modernity. Through the roof and open sides, natural light streamed onto craftsmen tending fires under copper cauldrons, called degswhich poked up from long rows of brick stills like giant fossilized eggs.

The ancient, painstakingly slow distillation practiced in Kannauj is called deg-bhapka. Each still consisted of the copper deg —built atop its own oven and beside its own trough of water—and a bulbous condenser called a bhapka receiver that looked like a giant butternut squash.

When a dating in grand Manchester supply of flowers comes in, the craftsmen put pounds i Cary looking for a boy rose or jasmine or other petals into each deg, cover the deg with water, hammer a lid down on top, and seal it with mud.

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They light a wood or cow-dung fire underneath, then fill the receiver with sandalwood oil—which serves as a base for the scents—and sink it into the trough. The deg and bhapka are connected with a hollow bamboo pipe that carries the fragrant vapors from the simmering pot into their sandalwood oil base.

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Like the Siyaram and Pathak families, the distillery workers have inherited precise skills from fathers Hollywood FL woman for dating grandfathers. They must closely monitor the fires so the heat under the cauldrons stays warm enough to evaporate the water inside to steam—but never so hot that it destroys the aroma.

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They must also keep the trough of water that holds the receiver cool enough for the vapors to turn back into a liquid, imbuing the sandalwood oil with their heady scent. Every few hours, they switch out the receiver, Albuquerque date night ideas down the deg with wet cloths each time to stop the condensation. A typical pound batch of petals takes six or seven hours to distill. It would mark Houston Tx dating six to seven hours before all of the aroma steamed out of the clay.

At that point, the men would drain the receivers from a hole in the bottom, siphoning off the water that had condensed in the vessel until only the rich, fragrant oil that had pooled on top remained. The mitti attar is not finished until it is poured into a special leather bottle called a kuppi and sealed inside.

It allows the attar to release any remaining moisture and realize its true dating agencies Macon this case, the first rain on the ground.

Our last stop on the mitti attar trail was a expat dating Hemet CA perfumery owned by a three-thumbed shopkeeper named Raju Mehrotra. Also carrying on the business of his father and grandfather, Mehrotra sat at a soapstone counter, the metal shelves behind him jammed with glass bottles i Santa Rosa tired of dating tins of every size filled with oils and attars of every type: jasmine, champaca, rose, kewda, three kinds of lotus, ginger lily, gardenia, frangipani, lavender, rosemary, wintergreen, geranium, and many more I had never heard of.

The mitti attar was in an inch-tall glass bottle on the counter. I twisted off the little gold cap, closed my eyes, and breathed in the scent of the Indian rain.

It smelled like the earth. But it was entirely appealing: warm, organic, mineral-rich. It was the smell of waiting, paid off: just coffee dating Dallas Texas TX years or more for a sandalwood tree to grow its fragrant heartwood; four months of hot, dust-blown summer in northern India before the monsoons arrive in July; a day for terra-cotta to slow-fire in a kiln. I asked Shukla, the supersmeller, to tell me what the scent brought to his mind. Popular Latest.

The Atlantic Crossword. In Subscribe. Kannauj's brick archway, erected in Cynthia Barnett.