This man is called a gatchal — গাচাল — which means that he is a tree climber. His occupation is to climb up the khejur gatch, the date palm, and extract the juice from slashes in the trunk.

Once you know who a tree-climber is, it is easy to stop them along the road. They all carry their tools for the trade: a wicker basket that holds the knife, and a little clay pot filled with the juice. The tree-climbers that we have seen have been barefoot. They are hired per month by people who have trees.

The date palm produces the juice in the winter. The tree-climber will put the pots on in the evening, and then will collect the juice in the mornings. They get approximately 3-4 kg of juice from each tree.



The juice is boiled for a long time to make gur — গুর — which is similar to molasses or brown sugar. After boiling, the juice is poured into a clay object similar to a muffin pan. The juice settles into hard, round balls that are then sold in the market. People use gur in juice and sweets among other things.

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