The sweet, age-old tradition of making jaggery in Goa

Here's our latest episode of Explore Goa with GT where we showcase the age-old tradition of jaggery making in Goa

The age-old tradition of making jaggery (gud/gur) in Goa can be seen in the Quepem taluka of Goa. Barcem is the village, where traditional jaggery-makers get together in the winter to make jaggery from sugarcane.

As you approach the location where it is made, the strong aroma of boiling sugarcane juice will entice you. From a distance, you can easily spot the thatch-roof shed which houses the unit where the jaggery is painstakingly prepared. The process of making sugarcane jaggery is an interesting one. A massive furnace is dug into the ground.

Jaggery making in Goa
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Next, about 400 to 500 liters of juice are poured into a large pan. The fire underneath the pan is then fed with dried sugarcane bagasse and other firewood. On the top, is the boiling sugarcane juice, which is extracted, cleaned and filtered. The men stir the liquid skillfully and rhythmically ensuring that it does not get lumpy or burnt. After hours of continuously stirring the thickened juice, it is free of impurities. It is then poured into another dry pan placed on the mud floor.

Jaggery making in Goa
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Two to four men carefully tilt the hot pan and its contents, without spilling even a drop of the juice. It is fascinating to watch the entire process. In the next hour, they stir the thick liquid, during which you find men holding large flat ladles that resemble the oars of a boat. This continues till the thick liquid begins to take on a grainy consistency.

Jaggery making in Goa
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It is quite interesting to see how the process is expertly done with so much care. Sadly, with the arrival of modern technology, the number of craftsmen who are skilled in this traditional activity are dwindling and so is the number of people who can do this work. While technology makes things convenient and easy, the traditional way is a sustainable one, where nothing goes waste, nor is any waste generated.

Jaggery making in Goa
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