Gharats – Amazing Himalayan Water Mills
It is estimated that at one point in Uttarakhand there were over a hundred thousand water mills in operation in Uttarakhand alone. Watching a gharat at work is like watching poetry in fluid motion. Using a vertical shaft, as the water flows through the channel turning the shaft, the vibrators allow only a few grains to drop into the churning wheel, grinding the grain slowly, into just the right texture, so that it retains its complete nutritional value. Wherever there is flowing water, a gharat can easily be set up. Rajpur in Dehra Dun had nine, all woefully encroached upon by human greed for property. Garhi Cantt. had several over the canal, now covered over for the Sabji Mandi stalls.
I saw one at the base of Tiger Falls, in Chakrata (pictured here). Tourism Department has spent crores building a pathway, gates and sheds. Beside the waterfall, the gharat could have been the second biggest draw for tourists, but it was completely ignored. Usually kept locked, noone gives it a second glance. But if you care for your body and mind, switch to gharat organic. Then, you could ask your neighbor, “…aap kis chakki ka aata khate hain!?