A taste of rural life in Athoor Dindigul ..
When we do the Village tour for our Western guests, only very few of them get to this complicated Charcoal making process . It is usually a long process and also done not very frequently .
The process of making charcoal is ancient, with archaeological evidence of charcoal production going back about 30,000 years. Making charcoal is still practiced at home in many economies around the world .
Earth pit kilns is a very common and traditional method of charcoal making in rural India ...
The process of using earth pit kilns begins by stacking wood , twigs in a pit, then sealing it tightly with a layer of grass and soil and igniting the wood at one end, starting carbonization. Many times Cow dung manure is also mixed with soil and grass thus ensuring very slow smoking ..Earth kilns are usually large but they can also be in small sizes , suitable for households. It takes anywhere from 4 - 7 days and the kiln is manned 24/7 as sometimes strong winds can ignite the wood and burn everything immediately . All the hard work of gathering the wood , stacking it and smoking can go up in fire , in a jiffy resulting in useless ash ..
Charcoal thus made ,is used in homes for cooking and sometimes sold at the weekly local shanty ..