Monday, January 08, 2007

First scented stamp from India

A lot of other postal administrations have done it before, but the 13th of December 2006, Indian post has issued its first scented stamp. The subject of the stamp is sandalwood.

The sandalwood tree can be found in India, Sri Lanka, Australia, China, Taiwan, Hawaii and some other South Pacific islands. The scientific name of this tree is Santalum album. The particularity of this tree is that as it grows, an essential oil develops in its roots and heartwood. When reduced into powder or paste, the wood has been used in traditional medicine, together with the oil, to cure various problems. The fragrance of the sandalwood is used in aromatherapy to relieve stress and depression. Because of its highly prized oil, the sandalwood is now endangered and is becoming quite rare and expensive. All sandalwood trees in India are owned by the Government and their harvest is strictly controlled. Nevertheless the illegal growing and export of this tree is not uncommon.
Apart for its oil, the sandalwood is sometimes used for construction but more often is used for carving. The stamp pictures one example of artistic carving made with Sandalwood. I received this stamp through an exchange circuit and I got the pleasure to see that the cover used by my contact also bears the same stamp. Actually this cover is a first day cover of this stamp. I can tell you than when you have the cover in your hand, you really smell the fragrance of sandalwood… I do not know how long the perfume will last, but this is quite impressive.

(click on the picture to zoom)

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