Ufaq Fatima

Aroma of ‘natural rosewater’ is fading in Kashmir!

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The “sole” shop owner in Srinagar thinks, his may be the last shop

Photo/Ufaq Fatima

Srinagar, Mar 27: Tucked in a corner of a heritage house at Fatehkadal area of Srinagar, the shop ‘Ark-e-Gulab’ remains filled with the aroma of fresh roses as Aziz Ahmad Kozgar refuses to part with the legacy of making and selling ‘indigenous’ rosewater here.

Kozgar told ‘Kashmir Images’ that his shop might be the last one of its kind that sells rosewater in the Valley.

“It was my father Habibullah Kozgar who passed the shop to me and I am the last person from my family lineage associated with the business of rosewater making,” says Aziz Ahmad.

While recalling the hay days of this trade in Kashmir, Ahmad says that this business – which has become moribund now – was so prosperous that they used to import the glass jars from France and England, and preserve rosewater in them.

“Many of my customers would buy the ‘natural rosewater’ for bringing glow on their faces, but now the market is full of facial cosmetics and artificial rosewater products due to which the natural rosewater has lost its relevance,” says Ahmad.

Located near the Khankah-e-Moula Shrine in Srinagar, ‘Ark-e-Gulab’ holds the memories of rise and fall of this business. The shelves of the shop contain empty glass jars that according to Aziz Ahmad Kozgar once remained filled with different varieties of rosewaters.

“This shop is very close to my heart despite the fact that the business is on decline. I will keep this shop open till my last breath,” vows Aziz Ahmad, though in a low tone.

As the prominence this shop once had is fading away, locals and tourists still continue to visit Ark-e-Gulab.

“Many people come to my shop but very few among them are my customers, and now I make the rosewater for shrines only,” says Aziz Ahmad.

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