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Now, buy a stone ‘sil batta’ or pickle jars during your commute within Hyderabad


Makeshift shops selling hand-made stone grinders coming up at various roadside spots in Hyderabad

Makeshift shops selling hand-made stone grinders coming up at various roadside spots in Hyderabad

Roadside discoveries are always interesting. Especially when one stumbles upon something that is a kitchen essential. Case in point –stone pestle and mortar (rollu in Telugu) sil batta (flat grinder made of stone), chakki or mini jars for pickles and ghee for the dining table. What caught my attention was a small pestle and mortar to crush adrakelaichi for chai or laung-elaichi to add to a curry.

Anand P, a 30-year-old vendor eagerly approaches customers as they get down from their cars to check out his wares. His makeshift shop at Karkhana traffic junction (Secunderabad) has ample parking place. Despite being on the roadside, it doesn’t disturb traffic flow. On display are miniatures of various hand grinders which are a part of ‘Durgamma set,’ which he says, is ‘compulsory’ to keep in every household.

Minitaures or Durgamma set; sil-battas and pestle and mortars in different sizes
| Photo Credit: Prabalika M Borah

Anand informs all the stone grinders are machine cut and procured from factories at Salem in Tamil Nadu. He used to run a shop at RTC Crossroads in Musheerabad but had to shut it down because he was unable to keep up with the rent during the last two years of the pandemic. Since he is also a wholesaler, he has been putting up makeshift shops at various locations and is happy with the sales.

He says, “These items are not something that people buy like fruits or vegetables every day. All the stones items are something which only traditional people buy or those who like the flavour of stone ground masala and spices in their food.”

Choice is yours

Anand has a huge collection of stone grinders, sil batta, flat chutney stone grinder, chakki and jars. All the items are in various sizes depending on what one uses it for. Prices vary according to the sizes and begin at ₹200 for a small grinder.
Apart from the machine-cut hand grinder, he has a small collection of hand-cut grinders from Kurnool. As seller he also advises first-time buyers on how to treat them before putting it to use. He suggests, the grinders be soaked and washed with plain water. After drying it, he added “unsoaked rice grains should be pounded to ensure the pestle and mortar gets a smooth texture and has no stone powder residue.”

These items are also available online at a slightly higher price and Anand is aware of it. He says, “If people buy from sellers like us, they will help us survive but we cannot force anyone. It is about choice and convenience. I am happy when younger buyers come and buy grinders asking how and what it is to be used for. While I cannot give recipes, I help them with ideas. My bestsellers are the hand grounders and s il battas (price depends on the size).

A common sight

Anand however isn’t the only one selling these items. A lot of vendors are selling select stone items on the Uppal road and on Kukatpally roadside along with a lot of other stuff like plastic flowers and terracotta flower pots.
Ramesh, a vendor at Kukatpally near CGHS hospital says his bestsellers are clay pots for cooking and stone grinders. He feels “the smaller items are bought by some people as part of interior décor because they come looking for it with specific measurements.”
Rakesh Sharma a buyer at Ramesh’s shop said he wanted a sil batta that can be used to make a homemade facial pack for his daughter.



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