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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mahakumbh #2 - Musk

While roaming around in Kumbh Mela I saw a roadside vendor selling three different things, I had no idea about. Out of those three I was most curious about one that was hairy and round I had not seen anything of this sort before. I inquired about it first, it was Musk! The other two were Shilajit (black colored in the photograph shared below) which is used as a medicine in traditional Indian medicine system- Ayurveda, and third was Asafoetida (brown in color).
Musk or Kastoori (Hindi) is a greasy secretion with a powerful odor, produced in a glandular sac beneath the skin of the abdomen of the male musk deer and used in the manufacture of perfumes. All I knew was it is obtained from Musk deer. Initially hunters used to kill these deer to take off the musk sac and used to dry it under the sun or dip it in hot oil. Later it became illegal to kill an animal for musk sac.Several governments strictly banned the killing of the Musk as it is on the verge of extinction like other species.
It was found that musk can still be taken without killing the deer. Since musk deer gets uncomfortable when musk sac is full. Because of itchy and irritated feeling it attempts to scratch it on a rough rock and peels it off without spilling the musk. Experts collect these musk sacs which are called at this stage: Musk Mouse which is extremely rare and expensive nowadays. Musk Deers are found in  India, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Tibet, Siberia.
To read more click here

Click of displayed products from a roadside vendor

My aunt holding a Musk Sac
from front to back - Shilajit, Musk sacs, Asafoetida
P.S. I don't know if the musk sacs being sold were taken out by the poachers after killing the animal, or they were being collected by the locals after the deer peels it off on its own.


  1. I doubt that a business interest would wait for a deer to peel it off on its own.


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