Candles are one of the most experimented with and sought after products today — be it for décor or for therapeutic value

Candles have always worked as great mood enhancers. Be it a power cut, a romantic dinner, a relaxing bath, or simply the desire to create an ambience, candles always manage to rise to the occasion.

No longer are they just long, thick, boring pieces of wax with a wick in the centre, they come in shapes, sizes, designs, textures, smells and colours – singled out for different occasions and varied purposes. Their usefulness even goes further — therapeutic candles help in curing insomnia and stress-related ailments.

Candle-making in recent years has emerged as an art, with courses on how to model them conducted in various places. What with a syllabus, practical experiments, and theoretical knowledge, it is a subject to be taken seriously.

For Subhash Sabharwal, head candle designer at Creative Candles in Lajpat Nagar, it is a profession with a difference. He provides classes for regular students for a fee, and gratis to those with mental illness. “I have always had a passion to do something different; and I don’t know what the general definition of ‘different’ is for people, but I am quite satisfied with helping disabled children and women. I certainly think it makes a difference to them,” says Mr. Sabharwal, who has been into candle making for the past 20 years. He keeps on inventing new designs and moulds for designer candles for every occasion.

He explains that candle-making is a fairly easy process where the only things that need to be focused on are chemical compositions of the aromas and wax, and the temperatures at which they are heated. Creative Candles’ speciality is a candle known as ‘Masala Candle’, which has black pepper, red chillies, and several other spices stuck to the exterior segment of it. “People these days have a renewed craze for candles and candle stands. And I don’t blame them, because candles are objects which can bring light and warmth at any given day.”

The science of therapeutic candles is also catching on like wildfire in the country. Though aromatherapy has been in existence since 1907, in which natural essential oils are used to cure stress and related ailments, many more people are taking to it commercially. Actor Suchitra Krishnamoorthi is one such. Her recent venture, The Candlelight Company, combines therapy and candle making — naming it ‘candle therapy’. According to Ms. Krishnamoorthi, she started off making candles just as an artistic experiment. “As an artist, I have always enjoyed experimenting and making new things. Candle-making seemed an interesting thing to do, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. I was, at that time, also looking for a complementary way of battling stress, so I travelled to Europe and studied aromatherapy and its uses intensively. That was when I realised I could put it to use in making therapeutic candles.”

When she started off, she was only looking to cure her own insomnia; but after gifting the candles to her friends and receiving positive feedback, she decided to go into business. “I hardly see it as business. I saw how those candles worked miraculously for my insomnia, and I wanted other people suffering from such disorders to have respite, too. Besides, I can barely recover my costs. Some natural oils I use cost up to Rs. 70,000. So it’s not about the money,” she says.

The Candlelight Company has a range of wellness candles that apparently heal disorders like insomnia, anxiety, flu, enable a person to concentrate or meditate better, and can instil a sense of happiness and confidence in the users. “These candles are so effective because there’s a science to it. Aromatherapy is a complementary science, and it works by sending messages to the limbic system of the brain that handles emotions,” says Ms. Krishnamoorthi.

Another trend that is quickly picking up in the Indian market is that of candle stands. Stores that sell candles confirm that customers inevitably pick up a candle stand or two when buying candles. The enthusiasm for stylish candle stands is such that many a time people buy them sans a candle, just for a style statement and to add décor value.

Aastha Yadav, project manager at Delhi Design Store, says, “Candle stands come is all shapes and sizes in the market. We sell various kinds -- branch candle stands, garden lanterns, those which create shadows, roof tile candle stands, leaf candle stands, wall cones… at our store.”

Keywords: Candles