Sandalwood is famous for its highly fragrant aroma, and its symbolic meanings largely stem from this quality. Both the wood itself and products made from it have occupied a significant place in many circles.
India has long had a particular passion for sandalwood. As a key ingredient in oils and incense, it was strongly association with the divine- similar to the role played by frankincense in Christianity, or by tobacco among Native Americans. Paste made from sandalwood is ritually smeared on the body during certain ceremonies, and religious objects/statuary have been carved from it.
The pleasing smell of sandalwood has also made it a common ingredient in modern perfumes and aromatherapy practices.