Traditional Atta-Making Techniques and Water Sources
Traditional Atta-Making Techniques – PSince 6000 BC, people have been consuming flour, or atta, and over time, the processes used to make it have changed as well. Previously, the raw grains were manually crushed and pounded between stones to create the powder; today, electricity-powered flour mills perform the same task.
But did you know that there were water-powered wheat mills in the Indian Himalayan mountain ranges? These watermills, often referred to as gharats, were essential to the daily lives of the inhabitants of Uttaranchal. But as new technologies have evolved over the years, these mills have been neglected, and they are now in appalling situations.
As a result of declining demand over time and many millworkers losing their jobs, the practise of making atta using this approach gradually came to an end. Some mill owners were forced to shut down their operations because the water channels that supplied the mills were either blocked, had changed directions, or had dried up, and they lacked the funds to make the necessary repairs or build check dams to redirect the water.
However, Vikas Singla, Anuj Saini, and Nitin Sharma, three friends from Chandigarh, are on a quest to revive these gharats and supply fresh atta manufactured in the hills across the nation.
Ever since the British era, water mills have been in use. There, atta is produced in a more softer, finer, and healthier manner.
Gharats are now all but extinct because most of them have closed. However, the three friends established “Ghrats Fresh” in order to revive forgotten customs, sustainably produce food, and give people jobs.
Traditional Atta-Making Techniques
Across customs and generations
The three was exposed to the gharats when they were little because they were raised in Chandigarh. Anuj claims that when his father travelled to the highlands on business, he always brought back a bag of atta that he had bought from a gharat. Anuj began operating a landscaping company when he got older.
He would travel to the Himalayas for various projects, but he would have a very tough time locating gharats that could supply fresh atta.
Anuj claims that when his father travelled to the highlands on business, he always brought back a bag of atta that he had bought from a gharat. Anuj began operating a landscaping company when he got older.
He would travel to the Himalayas for various projects, but he would have a very tough time locating gharats that could supply fresh atta. When he went to the places my father had mentioned, he discovered that they were closed or damaged. For some of them, there was no water source at all to run the mill. Anuj learned from additional inquiries made to nearby residents that the mill owners had made the decision to leave the area in search of a better way of life.
Bringing back the ghrat
The group found gharats that were shut down a few years ago for a variety of reasons, including unfinished repairs, clearing rivers, or a lack of places to sell the atta by concentrating on two locations: Himachal and Haryana.
By the end of June 2020, the business launch and owner identification processes had begun, and all repairs had been finished.
Five gharats have currently been brought back to life, and the work is being done by the property’s family. The other three are in Parwanoo, Himachal Pradesh, with the other two being in Bhadi Shehr and Madina in Haryana. They have entered into a deal with the mill owners, supplying them with raw materials, financial support to restore the gharat, and a monthly wage. In addition, they pay for any additional employment that is necessary.
They have so far located 20 such gharats and will seek to revive them in response to demand from customers.
The gharats also produce black wheat flour, besan flour, corn flour, and a variety of masalas, such as garam masala, coriander powder, and chilli powder, in addition to atta.