Ever wonder how Indian incense is made?

ByVrinda Kunja Ashram

Ever wonder how Indian incense is made?

Incense has been used in religious rituals since time immemorial. Recently we had an adventurous experience with incense on our Indian spiritual tour, that we would like to share with you. Many people burn incense during daily meditation and relaxation as well as for many other purposes, so there is a huge demand for incense all over the world. Unfortunately large industrial producers are not careful enough about all aspects of their product. Read on to find out about a significant difference between natural and synthetic Indian incense, that can even affect your health.

Life is a spiritual journey

Life is a journey that often takes you away from your planned route. We were visiting some Hindu temples in South India when we had a nice surprise. While touring among amazingly beautiful  Indian sacred sites, we just happened to meet a nice family making Indian incense or agarbattis. It was amazing! Can you believe that they were rolling them one by one? A skilled agarbatti maker can actually produce about 5000-6000 incense sticks a day!


Agarbatti is an essential element for performing puja in a Hindu shrine at home or temples, ie. offering special objects to the deities while reciting Vedic mantras. Customs of making incense have changed over time. Since ancient times, only naturally fragrant resins, oils or woods like sandalwood and patchouli had been used for making incense.

Nowadays,for the purpose of lost cost mass production of incense, manufacturers are using industrial fragrances composed of synthetic ingredients. So watch out what you buy the next time you shop for incense!. One thing is for sure: all of the black varieties of agarbatti are 100% synthetic!  

Incense as rolled in India

Many studies have been done to determine the health risks of burning agarbatti. Recent findings indicate that synthetic incense can be more dangerous to your health than cigarette smoke! But even when burning high-quality hand rolled natural varieties of agarbattis, it is recommended to keep a window open, and not to burn too much of it.

In fact just burning half of a stick at a time might be a good idea. Probably after watching this video you might thinking about making your own “Indian agarbattis”. Not a bad idea! Going chemical-free and all natural is better for your health and certainly more pleasing to the deities on your altar.

It is amazing to see how Indian incense is hand rolled. We made this video on our spiritual tour of South Indian Hindu temples. Source: Leveles Zoltan

Hindu puja is unimaginable without Indian incense. Of course, it must be natural. No black colour!

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