“I was in the courtyard beneath a young bakula tree so heavy with clusters of buds that bees swarmed thickly around its wine sweet perfume and the fallen flowers were in such great heaps I began to amuse myself weaving these into an intricate garland.”
Bhavabhuti (8th century A. D.)
India Bakul flowers traditionally distilled and infused in sandalwood oil
Provenance: Bikaner, Rajasthan, Western India
The bakul is one of India’s most sacred and beautiful flowering trees. It is most commonly found on the western coast of India and flowers between the months of March to August – filling the warm night air with an intoxicating aroma. The perfume of the bakul flower, also known as the “garland flower” lasts for a very long time and therefore is symbolic for the lasting love and devotion one has for one’s beloved.
Bakul trees are often found growing at temple entrances. The bakul’s deep green leafy branches offer luxuriant shade and cool respite from India’s blazing sun creating a peaceful sanctuary to meditate under. Following the ancient Hindu custom of marrying male and female trees, the bakul – which is considered male – is planted on the right side of the entrance, while the chalta tree, which is considered female, is planted on the left side. Interestingly, however, the essence of the bakul is considered to ignite the female energy (shakti) and the chalta, the female tree, drives the male energy – an example of the male-female balance (shakti vahana) in Hindu philosophy.
Bakul flowers are often considered sacred and are used as temple offerings to please the gods and goddesses or worn and given as garlands at holy ceremonies. Bakul Attar can also be burned in water to create a peaceful and meditative atmosphere.
Bakul Attar is the extract of creamy bakul flowers infused in pure sandalwood oil and then aged naturally. The entire process is labour intensive and can take up to a year and the result is intoxicating. The perfume is exotic, hauntingly deep and very soulful. It can be described as robust and earthy sweet with pleasant soft tea-like backnotes. Appropriate for both men and women, the attar is often said to have aphrodisiac properties!
Walking through a thick carpet of bakul flowers that have bloomed in the steamy night air and fallen to the ground of a temple courtyard, it is easy to understand why the people of India’s past pointed to the heavens as the source of these flowers.
Bakul Attar promotes the energies of the first (root), fourth (the heart) and the seventh chakra (the crown). The first chakra, the Muladhara, is located at the base of the spine. This chakra forms our foundation. It represents the element earth and is therefore related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane. Ideally, this chakra brings us health, prosperity, security and dynamic presence.
The fourth chakra house, the Anahata, is also known as the heart chakra. It is related to love and is the integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity. A healthy fourth chakra allows us to love deeply, feel compassion, and have a deep sense of peace and centeredness.
Finally, the Sahasrara chakra or the crown chakra relates to consciousness as pure awareness. It is our connection to the greater world beyond, to a timeless, spaceless place of all-knowing. When developed, this chakra brings us knowledge, wisdom, understanding, spiritual connection, and bliss.