Anyone who has ever traveled in an Indian train has definitely heard vendors calling out “Chai, chai, chai garam chai”. The chai or tea for Indians is not just a beverage. It is an emotion and it is a passion for tea lovers. It is an integral part of the rhythm of an Indian’s life. Drinking tea during the railway journey is more of a ritual than a need. When this tea is served in kulhad the journey gets a whole lot better.
Wondering what is kulhad? It is an earthen pot. Since more than a century, clay pots have been an inevitable part of the Indian culinary world. They are used for cooking traditional chicken and mutton curries and biryanis. But one of the most popularly used crockeries across the country is a kulhad and it is also known as shikora. This clay cup is used to serve different beverages like nimish, masala chai, mishit doi, or kulfi.
The idea of kulhad or earthen pot for drinking tea in railway stations was first introduced 15 years back by former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. However, these kulhads were soon removed by harmful plastic cups over the years. Now once again after 15 years, these kulhads are all set to come back with greater thrust on reducing the plastic.
They are introduced in Varanasi and Raibareli and to raise the production of the pots, potters are also given electric wheels that can make 600 cups a day instead of 100 cups. Here are some reasons why you must prefer clay cups over other types of cups and why Indian railways want us to go back in time.
Adds astounding aroma
Anyone who has ever had tea in these small pots can vouch that they are known to give earthy essence. This essence is also known as saundhi khushboo and it can make you live a hundred monsoons with just one nip. It is so because they are unglazed and unpainted and this unfinished touch is the reason you can smell this aroma from distance and the scent enhances your tea drinking experience.
A healthy and Hygienic Choice
The chemical styrene that is used in plastic cups can cause fatigue, hormonal issues, lack of focus, mucosal problems and many more health issues. But an earthen pot doesn’t have any of these side effects. It is pure and harmless.
If the water used to clean the cups is not clean then the bacteria and other parasites can get into your body just with a drop of contaminated water that can exist in the glass. But clay cups are not meant to be reused so you don’t have to worry about the lingering of germs but this issue is never faced with clay cups.
They are biodegradable hence they can be broken and on the disposal, they get to mix with the soil. Whereas Styrofoam cups take more than 500 years to get decompose and they pollute the planet. Also, it is affordable for both vendors and customers. Yes, Kulhads are far cheaper than glass, steel, plastic or any other material available.
The alkalinity of clay cups can reduce acidity
Drinking hot tea in plastic is harmful to health and is also known to create cancer whereas these cups are hundred percent healthy. In, the fact they have an alkaline quality that brings down the acidic nature of your body.
They will revive the art of pottery
Drinking the tea in these small kulhads will not just give the traveler a more authentic experience but it will also provide a respectful living to the local potters who are competing with machine made products.
No matter what the situation is when the first sip of tea from a kulhad bursts the flavor in your mouth it hits your soul and you fall in love with it and when this happens, you know everything is as beautiful as it could be.
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