It’s a common sight in rural India, rows of bricks drying in the sun next to a basic kiln.
On the way to Periyar, we stopped to take a closer look, and one of the young workers gave us a quick demonstration.
First clay is gathered, and mixed to the right consistency.
Then the clay is packed into wooden frames, four bricks to a frame.
The name of the company who commissioned the bricks is stamped onto each brick…
…and the bricks are left to dry.
Once enough dry bricks have been prepared, the big kiln is fired up. This one consists of brick walls, surrounded by a thatched roof (which doubles as a cool place to sleep in summer in between firings). I’ve seen open firing pits too, and in some places, such as Rajasthan, they use tall conical chimneys to retain the heat.
Make three hundred bricks a day, and you could earn the princely sum of 150 rupees. That’s approximately £2, or two thirds of a latte.