Burning incense has been a long tradition within Indian culture. In fact, India is the world’s main incense producing country and this tradition has been in India for thousands of years.
What is Incense
In India, the main method of burning incense with agarbatti, commonly known in England as an incense stick. Incense sticks are bamboo sticks with paste and perfumed ingredients. Typically, the perfumed ingredients are made from a masala. Although you may associate the term masala with cooking, it simply means a mixture of ground ingredients. In creating incense, some incense makers use Ayurvedic principles and the five different classes. These classes are ether (fruits – e.g. star anise), water (stems and branches e.g. – frankincense), earth (roots – e.g. turmeric), Fire (flowers – e.g. clove), and air (leaves – e.g. patchouli).
The significance of Incense
Indian culture recognises agarbatti with lots of importance. All religions within India use incense to help with their worship. The natural aromas of the incense can help improve the mood and help your mind to focus. It has particular importance within Hinduism.
In all Hindu rituals, agarbatti are an integral part. The aromas of the incense sticks are considered to have healing powers that are naturally soothing and calming. Once the calming effect takes place, there is heightened concentration. However, agarbatti that is made from bamboo is not allowed within rituals as bamboo is banned from being burnt in Hinduism.
The ritual or burning incense is incredibly symbolic in Hinduism. Incense sticks burn completely into ashes yet their impact is the pleasant aromas that fill a room. This ritual represents the human sacrifice to society. Beyond this, agarbatti is used day to day as air fresheners.
Incense has now become an aroma that is synonymous with Indian culture. The brightly coloured sticks and infatuating scents can be found all over the country, from temples to households.