It takes about five to six hours for Tegh Singh's roses to become attar. Throughout this process, Ram Singh stays on his toes, hopping between the still and the pot, testing the water temperature with his hands and listening to the hiss of steam to intuit whether to feed more wood into the fire. "I've been doing this since I was a boy," says the 50-year-old Ram Singh, who apprenticed with an attar guru for a decade.
The process is repeated the next day, with a new batch of rose petals, to achieve the desired potency. Once this is done, the rose attar is aged for several months in a camel-skin bottle, which wicks moisture. The finished rose attar is akin to liquid gold. One kilo (2.2 pounds) can fetch up to $3,000.