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ART. VIII. On the Cultivation of Roses and the Manufacture of Rose Water and Utur at Ghazeepore.
We are indebted to Dr. Jackson, Civil Surgeon at Ghazeepore, for the subjoined very interesting note on the celebrated Rose trade of that district. The information was sought for, for a work now in progress on " Indian Materia Medica"; meanwhile we have much pleasure in giving publicity in this Journal to the curious facts Dr. Jackson has collected.-EDS.
I have now the pleasure of sending you the information you require on the manufacture and trade of Rose-water in this district. Ghazeepore seems to have been long famed for its Attar and Rose-water, and having got the name, it has done its best to preserve it. The cultivation of the Rose plant is sufficient to supply the demand, and as the average remuneration is not more than enough to compensate for the trouble of its culture, no competition from the adjoining districts has been made.
Around the station of Ghazeepore there are about 300 beegahs, or about 150 acres, of ground laid out in small detached fields as Rose gardens, most carefully protected on all sides by high mud walls and prickly pear fences, to keep out the cattle. These lands, which belong to Zemindars, are planted with Rose trees, and are annually let out at so much per beegah for the ground, and so much additional for the Rose plants-generally five rupees per beegah, and twenty-five rupees for the Rose trees, of which there are 1000 in each beegah. The additional expense for cultivation would be about 8/8; so that for rupees 30/8 you have for the season one beegah of 1000 Rose trees. If the season is good this beegah of 1000 Rose trees should yield one lac of Roses. Purchases for Roses are always made at so much per lac. The price of course varies according to the year, and will average from 40 to 70 rupees. During the past season the latter was the price given for one lac of Roses towards the conclusion.
As soon as the Roses come into flower the Zemindars and cultivators of the Rose gardens, as well as intending purchasers, meet in the city, and according to the demand and expected produce, a nerick is established, and purchasers then enter into agreement with the cultivators for so many lacs of Roses at such a price. This agreement is considered binding, and the cultivator is obliged to deliver the quantity at the contract rate; when that is completed another can be made, but this latter is always at a much higher rate.
The Rose trees come into flower at the beginning of March and continue so through April. In the morning early the flowers are plucked
by numbers of men, women, and children, and are conveyed in large bags to the several contracting parties for distillation. The cultivators themselves very rarely manufacture.
The native apparatus for distilling the Rose-water is of the simplest construction; it consists of a large copper or iron boiler well tinned, capable of holding from eight to twelve gallons, (shaped like the earthen hoondahs in which the Gomastahs send in their Opium) having a large body with a rather narrow neck, and a mouth about eight inches in diameter; on the top of this is fixed the head of the still, which is nothing more than an old dekchee, or cooking vessel, with a hole in the centre to receive the tube or worm.
This tube is composed of two pieces of bamboo, fastened at an acute angle, and it is covered the whole length with a strong binding of corded string, over which is a luting of earth to prevent the vapour from escaping. The small end, about two feet long, is fixed into the hole in the centre of the head, where it is well luted with flour and water. The lower arm or end of the tube is carried down into a long necked vessel or receiver, called a bhubka. This is placed in a handee of water which as it gets hot is changed. The head of the still is luted on to the body, and the long arm of the tube in the bhubka is also well provided with a cushion of cloth, so as to keep in all vapour. The boiler is let into an earthen furnace, and the whole is ready for operation.
There is such a variety of Rose-water manufactured in the bazar, and so much that bears the name, which is nothing more than a mixture of sandal oil, that it is impossible to lay down the plan which is adopted. The best Rose-water however in the bazar may be computed as bearing the proportion of one thousand Roses to a seer of water; this perhaps may be considered as the best procurable. From one thousand Roses most generally a seer and a half of Rose-water is distilled, and perhaps from this even the Attar has been removed.
The boiler of the still will hold from eight to twelve or sixteen thousand Roses. On eight thousand Roses from ten to eleven seers of water will be placed, and eight seers of Rose water will be distilled. This after distillation is placed in a carboy of glass, and is exposed to the sun for several days to become puckah; it is then stopped with cotton, and has a covering of moist clay put over it; this becoming hard effectually prevents the scent from escaping. The price of this will be from twelve to sixteen rupees. This is the best that can be procured.
To procure the Attar, the Roses are put into the still, and the water passes over gradually as in the Rose-water process; after the whole has come over, the Rose-water is placed in a large metal basin,
which is covered with wetted muslin tied over to prevent insects or dust getting into it; this vessel is let into the ground about two feet, which has been previously wetted with water, and it is allowed to remain quiet during the whole night. The Attar is always made at the beginning of the season when the nights are cool; in the morning early the little film of Attar which is formed upon the surface of the Rose-water during the night is removed by means of a feather, and it is then carefully placed in a small phial; and day after day as the collection is made it is placed for a short period in the sun, and after a sufficient quantity has been procured it is poured off clear, and of the colour of amber, into small phials. Pure Attar when it has been removed only three or four days has a pale greenish hue, by keeping it loses this, and in a few weeks time it becomes of a pale yellow. The first few days' distillation does not produce such fine Attar as comes off afterwards, in consequence of the dust or little particles of dirt in the still and the tube being mixed with it. This is readily separated from its sinking to the bottom of the Attar, which melts at a temperature of 84°. From one lac of Roses it is generally calculated that 180 grains, or one tolah, of Attar can be procured; more than this can be obtained if the Roses are full sized, and the nights cold to allow of the congelation. The Attar purchased in the bazar is generally adulterated, mixed with sandal oil or sweet oil; not even the richest native will give the price at which the purest Attar alone can be obtained, and the purest Attar that is made is sold only to Europeans. During the past year it has been selling from 80 to 90 rupees the tolah; the year before it might have been purchased for 50 rupees. Native stills are let out at so much per day or week, and it frequently occurs that the residents prepare some Rose-water for their own use as a present to their friends, to secure their being provided with that which is the best. The natives never remove the calices of the Rose flowers, but place the whole into the still as it comes from the gardens.
The best plan appears to me to have this removed, as by this means the Rose-water may be preserved a longer time, and is not spoiled by the acid smell occasionally met with in the native Rose-water. It is usual to calculate 100 bottles to one lac of Roses. The Rose-water should always be twice distilled; over ten thousand Roses water may be put to allow of sixteen or twenty bottles coming out; the following day these twenty bottles are placed over eight thousand more Roses, and about eighteen bottles of Rose-water are distilled. This may be considered the best to be met with. The Attar is so much lighter than the Rose-water, that previous to use it is better to expose the Rose-water to the sun for a few days, to allow of its being well mixed,
and Rose-water that has been kept six months is always better than that which has recently been made.
At the commencement of the Rose season, people from all parts come to make their purchases, and very large quantities are prepared and sold. There are about thirty-six places in the city of Ghazeepore where Rose-water is distilled. These people generally put a large quantity of sandal oil into the receiver, the oil is afterwards carefully removed and sold as Sandal Attar, and the water put into carboys and disposed of as Rose-water. At the time of sale a few drops of sandal oil are placed on the neck of the carboy to give it a fresh scent, and to many of the natives it appears perfectly immaterial whether the scent arises solely from the sandal oil or from the Roses; large quantities of sandal oil are every year brought up from the south and expended in this way.
The chief use the natives appear to make of the Rose-water or the Sandal Attar as they term it, is at the period of their festivals and weddings. It is then distributed largely to the guests as they arrive, and sprinkled in profusion in the apartments. A large quantity of Rosewater is sold at Benares, and many of the native Rajahs send over to Ghazeepore for its purchase. Most of the Rose-water as soon as distilled is taken away, and after six months from the termination of the manufacture there are not more than four or five places where it is to be met with.
I should consider that the value of the Roses sold for the manufacture of Rose-water may be estimated at 15,000 rupees a year, and from this to 20,000, and from the usual price asked for the Rose-water and for which it is sold, I should consider there is a profit of 40,000 rupees. The natives are very fond of using the Rose-water as medicine or as a vehicle for other mixtures, and they consume a good deal of the petals for the conserve of Roses, or Goolcund, as they call it. There are several kinds of essential oils produced from the strong scented flowers in this district, which I will procure and send down to you.
ART. IX.-Memoranda on the Museum of the Asiatic Society. By DR. M'CLELLAND.
A Museum may be considered in the light of a philosophical book, in which language is represented by works of nature and art. If system be important in common undertakings, in a Museum it is every thing; and not only should every object be placed according to the position it occupies in the history of art, or in the system of nature, but the very apartments in which the collections are placed, and the cabinets, and even the glasses in which they are contained, should be conformable to some general plan, as much as possible in imitation of the simplicity of nature. To be able to adopt a plan, requires that we should have something to work upon; and in proposing a plan for the guidance of future operations in the Museum, we cannot be too grateful to those who have by their exertions, within a comparatively short space of time, put us in possession of our present instructive and respectable collections.
To Captain Herbert and Mr. Calder we are not only indebted for extensive geological and mineralogical collections, but as being among the first contributors to the Society's collection of natural objects, which may be said to have commenced in 1828 with the revival of the Physical Committee.
Although a brief space of ten years has only elapsed since our Museum of Natural History was first formed, yet more changes have taken place in that short period among those who have taken an active part in its management, than in any similar European establishment in half a century.
This is one reason why a set of rules should be adopted by which the steady advancement of the Museum may be secured; and another reason for such rules, is the growing importance of the collection itself; which requires on the part of the Society a stricter surveillance over the establishment entrusted with its management than formerly.
Before proposing rules it is necessary to explain the different purposes they are required to answer.
On the subject of Cabinets, it is necessary that they should be chosen with strict attention to the appearance and convenience of the Museum. They should be of two kinds, namely, glass cases for walls, and tables with glazed covers for the centre of the rooms, of the pattern proposed by Mr. Jameson, in imitation of the Edinburgh Museum.
The first description of cases fitted up with shelves will answer for