Mills in Alto Aragón

Village mills in India

The same type of small watermills like the ones of Ainielle, Paúles, Aso de Sobremonte and many more are still very much alive in several parts of the world. There are believed to exist a few hunderd thousand of such mills in the Himalayas. The examples shown are from the Indian Himalayas in the Nainital region (Uttar Pradesh). The watermills there are called gharats and have many things in common with the mills in Altoaragón.

Pictures: XII.2004

The mill hidden in the valley.
The supply channel and the chute is visible.
The water falls 4 to 5 m down to the mill

Open chute brings water to the mill
The mills, like in Spain, are built with simple technology and local materials (the roof of the mill in Bajun is made of flattened oil tins). The mills traditionally served the local communities but now often fall into disuse because of the very same forces that we've seen at work in the Pyrenees. The owners have gone to the cities to seek better employment. Industrial mills in nearby towns have killed business for the smaller village mills. And deforestation caused some water supplies to dry up.

Gharats lack the familiar pond to store water. They are situated in a region where getting sufficient water was much less of a problem than in most parts of Aragón. This is also illustrated by the fact that the miller here doesn't seem to care about considerable losses in the chute.
The door was locked, but the mill was running unattended. The mill in Bajun stood still.

Open chute
Entrance to the mill
The drain

Read more:
Ghosh Abhik, Banerjee B.G., Vasishat R.N. & Sinha A.K. - 2008 - Reinventing the watermill in the Himalayas:
the Gharat in history, tradition and modern development.
ISBN: 81-7211-248-3
Path: Home / Alto Aragón: old watermills / Gharats in India
Introduction
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