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A Chandigarh Start-up is Reviving Traditional Atta-Making Techniques and Water Sources

By auther pic. Roshini Muthukumar

October 20, 2022

A Chandigarh Start-up is Reviving Traditional Atta-Making Techniques and Water Sources

Ghrats

Nowadays, gharats are almost non-existent because 99% of them have closed. However, the three friends launched ‘Ghrats Fresh ’ to reintroduce lost traditions, sustainably produce food and provide employment to others.

Through traditions and generations

Growing up in Chandigarh, the trio was introduced to the gharats at a young age. Anuj says that his father would travel up the mountains for business and always return home with a bag of atta he purchased from a gharat. As he grew older, Anuj launched a business that deals with landscaping.

 

For some projects, he would travel to the Himalayas but would find it very difficult to find gharats that procured fresh atta. He would visit the ones that my father spoke of only to see that it was closed or damaged. Some of them did not even have a water source to power the mill. After further inquiry from people living around, Anuj understood that the mill owners decided to migrate from that location in search of a better livelihood. 

So what is a ghrat?

Gharat is a house or a mill that is placed downstream of a fast-flowing river channel. Under the river is a turbine which is powered by the flowing water. Inside the house are two stones, placed one over the other, which are used to grind the grains. One of the stones rotates and is powered by the moving turbine, while the other is stable.

Above the stone, there is a funnel, commonly known as a hopper, made of steel which holds the grains. This hopper is supported over the grinding stone with the help of a wooden frame. To ensure the grains gradually fall into the stone, there is a small wooden wedge placed near the mouth of the funnel which comes in contact with the grinding stone and creates a vibration for the funnel. This allows the grains to be fed into the hole of the grinder.

Once the grains are finely powdered, it is pushed out of the stone and collected.

Reviving the ghrat

By focussing on two locations — Himachal and Haryana, the trio identified gharats that were shut down a few years ago owing to various reasons such as unfinished repairs, clearing waterways, or lack of avenues to sell the atta.

The process of launching the business and identifying mill owners started by the end of June 2020 and all the repairs was completed within three months

Currently, they have revived five gharats and the work is being taken care of by the family that owns it. Two operational mills are located in Bhadi Shehr and Madina in Haryana, and the other three are in Parwanoo, Himachal Pradesh. They have got into a contract with the mill owners, offering financial support to repair the gharat, providing raw materials, and paying them a monthly salary. Apart from that, if additional employment is required, they pay for that too.

To date, they have identified 20 such gharats and will work on reviving them based on consumer demand.

Apart from atta, the gharats also produce corn flour, besan flour, black wheat flour, and a range of masalas including garam masala, coriander powder, and chilly powder. The brand claims to receive a good number of orders every day from Punjab, Haryana, Ludhiana, and Shimla.

 

If you wish to know more about the products they offer or place an order, you can visit their Facebook page. 

Also Read: Sportz Village Foundation: Giving every child an equal opportunity to succeed in life through ‘play’

Author

Roshini Muthukumar, a native of Chennai, started her career as a content writer but made a switch to journalism to pursue her passion. She has experience writing about human interest stories, innovative technology, entrepreneurs, research blogs, and more. Previously, Roshini has done internships with The Hindu, Metroplus and worked as a correspondent with The Better India.

 

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