Clay-Cow dung Grain Silos of Gujarat

Traditional skills of People 

HOMEPAGE

Clay–Cow dung Grain Silos of Saurashtra, Gujarat  

Peasants in India store grains in various ways: paddy straw, silos of bamboo

mat as well as clay silos. The enclosed photographs document clay silos in

humble villages in Saurashtra region of Gujarat state. These are sufficient to

show the state of the art of building these silos by the newly married women 

that is customary. 

 

 

  1. Wet clay and cow dung are mixed to build the wall/s, base, the stubs that support the base and a thin cover at the top over the stored grains – wheat.   
  2. The main crop of the region is wheat. 
  3. The silos are either circular or square. The silos rise up to about 14 feet (3.5 m), of course, because of the shape. The square silos are usually up to 1.5 m to 2.0 m high. The circular silo is about 1.2 m at the base and 0.9 m at the top. Walls are about 100 mm thick. In case of circular silo the walls taper to 75 mm thickness. The base, of course, is raised by 300 mm above the mud floor (the reason obviously is to prevent dig burros from underground. A hole is provided at the bottom to remove gains whenever needed. The silos are finished white with lime wash; it is closed with cotton rag.  
  4. Women collect the clay from the village tanks. They were built (dug) by keeping in mind the contours of land, some generations ago, by community participation. They collected rain water from the surrounding fields. 
  5. They do not use any chemical pesticides in the stored grains. Instead they use Neem leaves. The grain usually lasts for whole year, and it doesn’t get affected by pest. The peasants have experienced that grains stored in tin or aluminium or any other metal or plastic cans get affected by pests.   
  6. Surprisingly, the silos are safe from the rodents while the villages are       infested with them. Also, the people don’t kill them or other animals or birds. The people of high castes may occasionally attack the untouchable casts is another matter!    

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Remigius de Souza 

28-02-2009