Halfway through question hour, members complained about the smell and said it could be a gas leak though it was not immediately clear where the odour was originating from.
Kurien said in the parliamentary gallery later that it was like an "LPG smell but cannot say definitely".
D Raja of the Communist Party of India said members got scared after the "strong" odour spread in the house and urged the chairman to adjourn it briefly.
Officials, who are seated in a separate gallery in the Rajya Sabha, said they had complained of the smell earlier as well but no action was taken. Some officials and members suspected that the smell was originating from the sewers.
"We have complained about the smell so many times. The DG of CPWD(Central Public Works Department) came recently. It comes from the sewers," an official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
"It may be sewer gas, or garbage, or something else, we don't know," added an MP.
"It smelt like sewer gas," said another member.
The functioning of the house was restored at 12 noon after the smell subsided.