Nag Champa is a popular Indian fragrance consisting of sandalwood and champa flower. It is often used in incense, soap, perfumes, and many other goods. Despite it’s immense popularity, many people wonder what the correct pronunciation of the word is.
We’ll be happy to fill you in.
Nag Champa is pronounced like this: nog chomp ah
“As for your favorite irritant, Nag Champa, the name is Hindi, though I’m told by my experts that it has a Sanskrit origin. “Champa” is the local name for a flower that grows about ten feet tall in the tropics, Alpinia nutans, shell ginger. “Nag” is more of a problem. It literally means “cobra,” but has other layers of meaning in different contexts. Here it probably means “breath” or “spirit.” So the fragrance of the ginger flower is the principal scent in Nag Champa, though I’m told by those who’ve smelled the plant, the fragrance is very delicate, and of course when it burns in incense, it smells like smoldering compost.” – Matthew Alice, San Diego Reader, 9/24/98
This article was last revised on 02/28/2020.