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Hot golden and Sweet - Making jaggery at Chhutmalpur | by Anoop Negi
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Hot golden and Sweet - Making jaggery at Chhutmalpur

If you have tasted sugar as sweet as this, with its crumbly flaky texture that melts in your mouth. Then, you have attained Sweet Nirvana. Chocolate does not even come close to this.


Another take from the small town of Chhutmalpur where this not so small unit was working to make some really red red gur ( jaggery).


Just to recap --


As you come out of the Shivalik ranges that form the southern bastion of Dehradun and head for the dust fields of Delhi, you pass through quaint rugged settlements populated by a rustic breed of farmers, tillers, cattle keepers, cut throats and other remanants of the Huns that invaded the country many centuries ago.


Chhutmalpur is one such sleepy place where in the season they crush sugarcane and make "gur". From my early childhood days I remember seeing open fire pits blazing away in the night and workers silhouetted in the flames. The sweet heady aroma of raw sugar cane juice being boiled in large cast iron pans and the leftover acrid tingle of molasses was a smell that one grew up in the valley of Dehradun. It still has the same overpowering presence that it had back then.


I was passing Chhutmalpur enroute to Dehradun after photographing the Pushkar Cattle Fair. It was a good time to stop. There were no other passengers with me and this was like Childhood Revisited.


I am reminded of a book " Rerun at Rialto " written with great finesse by Tom Alter where he writes of this very place in one of his stories. A book worth reading for its simple easy narrative and some unexpected twists that make the stories so much more endearing. That was ages ago. I once read voraciously but rarely read fiction now. This book is a treat and along with books of Ruskin Bond, a beautiful easy read.


Notes on Photography


This photograph was in the interior of a large thatched hut with its side open. The light not so great for a stock camera lens. So this was shot on as is metering to take in the balance of the harsh outside light and the dark smoke swirling interior with crepuscular sun rays being made in the smoke from the top shaft opening. Metered and focused for the golden flow of the sugar cane juice it would be adequate to show case the stairways to Sweet Heaven. So that was it.


Exif Information -



Taken on November 23, 2007 at 1.36pm IST (edit)

Posted to Flickr July 4, 2012 at 12.35AM IST (edit)

Exif data

Camera Nikon D70

Exposure 0.008 sec (1/125)

Aperture f/5.6

Focal Length 18 mm

Exposure Bias 0 EV

Flash No Flash


DSC_0845 ov 2x selected exp cu sat sharp fill

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Taken on November 23, 2007