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Watermills (Pan chakki/Garhaat)

Watermills are an ancient and environmentally friendly method of producing flour by using natural flow of water. In this process water is directed from a stream or river to the watermill which is usually built at a lower point to maximise the gravitational force of water.

The water picks up its speed and the required force through a narrow and steep wooden channel before hitting a vertical water wheel directly under the milling stones. This results in a simultaneous movement of both the water wheel and milling stone to turn granules into flour.

Due to ample natural water supply in the valley, this method of flour milling has been used for centuries. There were dozens of these mills (or locally known as Garhaats) across the length of this valley. Since the arrival of modern flour mills the valley has seen a significant reduction in the numbers of these traditional watermills. Today only a handful of them are kept in action to keep this centuries old tradition alive.

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