House of Shama

A Perfumed History

Badi AL Zaman Shama began his perfumery on the outskirts of Agra in 1615. His skill and ingenuity, manifest in a range of exquisite attars, soon won him a following among the cityís wealthy elite. His reputation continued to grow, and it was not long before an emissary from the court of Shahjehan paid him a visit. In 1639, eleven years after Shahjehan ascended the throne of Agra, Badi Al Zaman was given the honour of supplying the royal court exclusive attars, made to order. Having gained the patronage of none other than the Emperor and his wife Mumtaz Begum, both of whom had a fondness for perfumes, incense, and aromatic oils, Badi Al Zamanís attars reached greater heights of popularity and fuelled further business expansion.

By the time Aurengzeb deposed his father in 1658, Badi Al Zaman had four separate perfumeries under his control. But he was 80 by then, and had to hand over the business to his eldest son, Al Tufail Shama, who was 30 years of age at the time.

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