Anyone who lives in the hills of Uttarakhand, India would know what a gharat is. These gharats have a significant role in employment of mechanical power from water streams primarily for grinding purposes. They found ways to utilize to their advantage the flowing energy of the natural resources. Himalayan regions are famous for their fresh water rivers and streams. There are various other tributaries which are rain fed that supplement the water flow in the rivers. In past times people realized the potential of these rivers and streams and used its power in many potential ways. Gharats are the perfect example of the use of rivers and streams in an extraordinary way. Watermills are similar in construction and working to the gharats. It automatically runs with the flow of the water from the himalayan rivers.
A set of Gharat comprises many parts which are made of wood and stone. One part of Gharat is called Paniyal. It is a canal which is made of wood and is used to divert water to Jaleri. Jaleri is an aperture which is circular in shape and is also made of wood with bladed wings. A hollow container which is hollow and narrow is fitted on the lower portion. ‘Tali’ and ‘Ghat’ are two circular stones which are similar in structure. On the ground Tali is permanently fixed and Ghat is fixed onto Tali and is movable in nature. Gharat can function on a particular height where a water reservoir has been made. Water then flows through the water reservoir through Paniyal to the Kaleri. The Jaleri moves when water falls on the wings. The movement of the ‘Jaleri’ rotates the ‘Ghat’ and the continuous rotation of Ghat grinds the grains. This precious technology today created by our ancestors is on the verge of extinction and needs to be preserved and protected.