Abdul Aziz Kozgar, 66, at the 102-year-old Arq-I-Gulab Waan shop in downtown Srinagar. (Photo: Irfan Amin Malik)

A rose water shop is more than a century old in the downtown area of Srinagar city. Only a few steps from the famous Khanqah-e-Moula shrine, it is the only surviving rose water distillery in Kashmir Valley.

The smell of roses fills the air as the shop owner sells several litres of rose water daily in unlabelled plastic containers.

The light grey-bearded Kozgar is busy with his customers and does not talk much. A good number of foreign tourists have been visiting this historical shop which has 500 years of Kashmir's legacy.

There are pictures of Sufi saints on the walls of the shop. There are handwritten Urdu and Persian slips on the shelves of the store.

He wants to keep the bottles in the shop for future generations.

The uses of rose water.

Rose water can be added to Kashmiri Kahwa to get more scent, and it can also be used as a coolant for the stomach.

Rose water is used in many South Asian sweets.

Rose water is made.

The rose water comes from various parts of Kashmir. I don't use any machines and the rose water is made manually, and I refuse to share the skills and techniques that I use to make it.

The rose petals and other herbs are boiled in a copper cauldron, and the rose water is then distilled.

Rosewater is traditionally sprinkled on devotees in masjids, shrines, temples, and during wedding celebrations. It is used in many dishes to get the smell and as a refreshing addition to Sharbats as well as sprinkled on handkerchiefs during intense summer days.

The shop was opened in the 19th century. The photo is of Irfan Amin Malik.

There are benefits to drinking rose water.

Natural rose water has antiseptic and anti- inflammatory properties. Rose water has been used for centuries to soothe sore throats.

The shot was fired.

The shop was opened around 1820 by his grandfather, who imported jars, decanters and other things from France and the UK to open a business in Srinagar.

The craft of rose water is a dying tradition, as evidenced by the white skull cap worn by Kozgar. The father-of-three tells Moneycontrol that he is the last person from his family line associated with this business.

Though rose water is the USP of Kozgar’s business, the shop also sells perfumes, herbal syrups for stomach and kidneys, besides providing traditional Perso-Arabic medicines for different ailments.

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