Ancient India- The Perfumery & Beautycare hub of the world

Ancient India- The Perfumery & Beautycare hub of the world


Bharatvarsh or Jambudvīpa, as India was known in pre-historic times, was known as the Wellness & beauty care hub of the world. Luxuries exported were Bharat were the most demanded items by the nobility and the rich folks who were prepared to pay exorbitantly to anyone who would could import them.

Cosmetics and Fragrances were created from unique herbs and botanical extracts of plants’ flowers, leaves, barks and roots. The varied climatic conditions of Bharatvarsh provided all kinds of Natural treasures- from saffron of Kashyapamar (present day Kashmir) to Tejpatta of Keralaputra (present day Kerala). Bharat’s incredible biodiversity stretched from Bactria to Funan to Suvarnabhumi, and no other ancient civilization had access to such diverse flora and fauna, thereby providing Bharat with herbs which were not found anywhere else in the world.

The ancient Bharatvaasis thoroughly researched the effects of various herbs on the human body. Clinical trials were conducted for hundreds of years, until the perfect formulations for providing cure for every ailment known to humankind, were obtained. Numerous books were written on the methodology and the process of these trails, and on the composition of the herbal formulas.

Ancient Bharatiya libraries were stacked with information collated over the span of thousands of years. Over the span of several millennia, these libraries acquired the shape of the earliest Universities in the world, where learners from distant civilizations and kingdoms were provided education, and boarding.

Around two thousand years ago, Bharat started being known as India by traders from the Roman Empire and the Greek Civilizations.

The sea route to India really opened up in the first century BCE with the discovery of how the monsoon winds would allow direct passage across the Indian Ocean and back, thus avoiding the coastal route with its dangerous reefs and pirates. The classic description of these sea routes is a book written in the first century CE, the Periplus of the Erythraean (Red) Sea. Roman trade with India is documented by numerous finds of Roman coins along the Indian coast and by other objects along the overland routes. For the Romans, spices may well have been even more important than silk, and the major source of the spices was South and Southeast Asia. 

Roman Empire and India

Indo-Roman relations were built on trade. Roman trade in India began with overland caravans and later by direct maritime trade following the conquest of Egypt by Augustus in 30 BCE.

According to Strabo (II.5.12), not long after Augustus took control of Egypt, while Gallus was Prefect of Egypt (26–24 BCE), up to 120 ships were setting sail every year from Myos Hormos to modern-day India:

"At any rate, when Gallus was prefect of Egypt, I accompanied him and ascended the Nile as far as Syene and the frontiers of Ethiopia, and I learned that as many as one hundred and twenty vessels were sailing from Myos Hormos to India, whereas formerly, under the Ptolemies, only a very few ventured to undertake the voyage and to carry on traffic in Indian merchandise."

— Strabo II.5.12. [2]

Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) who wrote the following about journeys to the Malabar coast: "If the wind called Hippalus is blowing it is possible to arrive in forty days at Muziris.... Travellers set sail from Muziris on their return to Europe, at the beginning of the Egyptian month of Tybia, which is our December, or at all events before the sixth day of the Egyptian month Mechir, the same as our Ides of January; if they do this they can go and return the same year."

Pliny the elder :
Gaius Plinius Secundus, referred to as Pliny the Elder (23–79 CE), left probably the important account of trade between Rome and India, that has survived in Classical literature. According to him, one documented consignment from Muziris port in India to Alexandria consisted of 700 pounds of nard over 4,700 pounds of ivory and almost 790 pounds of textiles. This has been calculated as worth a total value of 131 talents, enough to purchase 2,400 acres of the best farmland in Egypt. With such staggering profits, it's little wonder that the Roman government in Egypt encouraged and profited by the trade and a 25 per cent tax on all goods from India was levied by the Romans at the Red Sea port of Leuce Come.

Pliny repeatedly complained about the staggering amount of money being spent for the imports of luxuries from India. He primarily blamed the women for their obsession with the luxuries from India, and the nobility who offered Indian luxuries as offerings to gods at the largest temples of their respective kingdoms as a display of their wealth and stature in the society.

 "India and some other countries take one hundred million sesterces from our empire per annum at a conservative estimate: that is what our luxuries and women cost us. For what percentage of these imports is intended for sacrifices to the Gods or the spirits of the dead?" - Pliny. Historia Naturae, 12.41.84.

Greek Civilization and India:

The Isidore of Charax in his work The Parthian Stations (Ancient Greek: Σταθμοί Παρθικοί) described the trade route between the Levant and India in the 1st century BC.

Muziris papyrus which is written in Greek, contains crucial information regarding the cargo of a ship named the Hermapollon that sailed back to Egypt from the Muziris in India. Muziris is also mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea as one of the Indian ports that Greek ships were sailing.

Some of the Indian ports that Greek merchants were visiting where MuzirisBarygazaBarbarikonMinnagaraUjjain and Ariaca.

Tacola (Τάκωλα) was a place on the west coast of the Aurea Chersonesus, in India extra Gangem, which Ptolemy calls an emporium.

The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea was a manual written in Greek for navigators who carried trade between Roman Empire and other regions, including ancient India. It gives detailed information about the ports, routes and commodities.

Ancient Greek and Roman writers also describe the ports of the Arabia Felix, which were used for the Indian trade. The story of Hippalus, the merchant who accompanied Greek scholar Eudoxus on his voyage to India and after whom the congenial winds are named, itself goes back to 110 BC.

Kodungallur in modern day Kerala, was India’s gateway to the civilisations of the world. This bustling trading port for Indian luxuries was known to Greeks, Romans and the rest of the world as Muziris

The importance of Ancient Universities of India

The ancient Indian universities of Takshashila, Nalanda, Kanchipuram, Manyakheta, Ujjain, Nagarjunakonda, Varanasi, Mithila, Valabhi, Sharada Peeth, Pushpagiri Vihara, Odantapuri, Vikramshila, Somapura, Jagaddala Mahavihara, etc.,  were brimming with authoritative treatises and journals documenting the remarkable scientific breakthroughs.

As the oldest university in the world, Takshashila has a special place in the history of the world. More so, in Indian history. The Vayu Purana traces the start of Takshashila, to Taksha, son of  Bharata (brother of Raghu Ram Chandra). Takshashila also finds a mention in Mahabharata – citing Dhaumya, as the acharya of Takshashila. It was at Takshashila, that Vaishampayana made the first recorded narration of the Mahabharata to Janmajeya. Kings and commoners – all came to study at Takshashila. Its alumni included all the stars of the Indian firmament – Atreya, Pasenadi, Mahali, Patanajali, Jivaka, Panini, Kautilaya, Prasenjita.

Unfortunately every university and library of Ancient India was burned down by waves of invading barbarians who could not understand the value of these scientific and literary treasures. Fortunately, knowledge survived repeated purges and was secretly & orally passed down generations of the few librarians who survived, for centuries, and now have been compiled to create the ultimate beauty care luxuries –BestIndian™.

BestIndian ™ Natural Beauty Care products are made amidst Himalayas in Uttarakhand:

BestIndian™ beauty care and wellness luxuries are manufactured in pollution free and pristine surroundings, amidst majestic Himalayan mountain range. All herbs used in BestIndian™ products are grown organically by our trusted farmers, which helps uplift the local economy. Other farmers of the region have been inspired by our ‘Grow Organic’ campaign, and have started boycotting synthetic fertilizers. This has helped in organic rejuvenation of vast areas of farmlands spanning across several villages.

 The efficiency of natural ingredients based cosmetics products depends on the freshness of the ingredients used. BestIndian™ products’ potency is the highest in the cosmetics industry which is a result of using the freshest ingredients. All are farms are located close to our manufacturing facility to ensure that our products are made with the freshest possible ingredients. Herbs are harvested early in the morning, and are transported with care and efficiency to ensure that the herbs reach our state of the art manufacturing facility, within three hours of harvesting. It’s almost like using ingredients from your own kitchen garden.

Our modern manufacturing facility meets and surpasses all quality norms of ISO 9001, and is GMP certified. Our in house research and experiments are conducted in state of the art labs incorporating the latest scientific advances, to create our trademarked formulations. Our scientists are reputed to be the experts of the industry, and share a common passion to introduce the world to the magical possibilities of nature based products.

Since the pre-historic days, Uttarakhand is known as the land of spirituality and Yoga, where saints and philosophers used to spend years in meditation and research. These researches were mainly centred on the effects of various herbs which were discovered in the Himalayan jungles, meadows, and valleys. These herbs were known as ‘jadi-booti’ in ancient texts and scriptures, and were used to cure almost all ailments known to ancient Indians. These researches were collated, and let to the genesis of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is respected as the most effective alternative medicine system in the modern day Indian subcontinent, where this unique science is used to create effective herbal medicines which are used by around 80% of the population.

All BestIndian ™ luxuries are made in accordance with the laws of Ayurveda, and the guidelines provided in scriptures like Ashtangsangriha, Sushrut Samhita, Charak Samhita, etc.

Natural Perfumes made in Kannauj

Kannauj in India had been known to the ancient civilizations of the world, as the perfume capital of the world. Perfumes were at the top of the Luxuries exported from India, and as Pliny the elder mentioned, the majority of the gold of the various ancient kingdoms of the world was spent in importing perfumes made in Indoa.

Indian fragrances were exported to the kings & nobility of ancient civilizations including the Egyptian pharaohs, Caesars of Roman Empire and later to senators of Roman Republic, to Tapputi of Mesopotamia to Babylon, Sumeria, Swarnbhoomi, Tamraparni, etc. Evidence from Achaemenid and Graeco-Roman history establish that Indian perfumes were famous throughout the known world for their complexity and quality.

The history of perfumery in India dates back Millenniums to the pre Vedic time period. In a remarkable archaeological discovery in 1975, archaeologist Dr Paolo Rovesti discovered a terracotta distillation apparatus in the Indus valley, together with oil containers made of the same material, carbon dated to 3000 BCE.

Fragrances are given a place of honour in both Ramayana and Śrīmadbhagavadgītā. Vishnu Dharmottara Purana and Varāhamihira's Bṛhat Saṃhitā from 1500 years ago, describe the art of perfumery in India in detail.
Varahamihira devoted chapter 30 only to “Gandhayukti”, which means “Art of combining perfumes”, while Kamasutra of Vatsyayana lists making perfumes as one of the 64 arts of love.

Perfumery making in ancient India was an art form, perfected over the span of millennia. Indian perfumes were all natural, made from herbs and plant extracts, using unique distillation processes. BestIndian™ has recreated the perfumes of ancient India by diligently following the ancient methods. Our state of the art perfumery meets the latest scientific certifications, while strictly adhering to the ancient Indian methodology of natural perfume creation.

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