Mounting /Himalayas to /Enterprise Web: Gai Technologies' Ascetic Route

Dharamshala Model to Foster Community & Innovation
Mounting /Himalayas to /Enterprise Web: Gai Technologies’ Ascetic Route | Dharamshala Model to Foster Community & Innovation

Founded in 2011 on the principle of "Grow An Idea," Gai Technologies Pvt Ltd has charted a unique path in the tech industry. Located in the serene setting of Himachal Pradesh, India, the company thrives under the leadership of CEO Krishnan Narayanan

The CEO advocates a leadership ethos centered around the idea that "Quality of life is a prerequisite to quality of work." This philosophy nurtures a workplace culture steeped in mentorship and collaboration. His vision for Gai Technologies, often referred to as 'The Dharamshala Model,' emphasizes the development of specialized expertise within tranquil environments that are optimal for innovation.

The company was initiated to build high-caliber software development teams in second and third-tier towns, initially collaborating with Srijan and working across various web technologies, including CakePHP, Typo3, and Drupal. However, the pivotal moment came in 2012/13 when Gai Technologies decided to specialize and direct its focus exclusively on Drupal, motivated by the CMS's thriving community and its flexibility over alternatives like WordPress.

Significant milestones mark the company's evolution within the Drupal community. One such is

"Originating with a team of four developers based in Delhi, the Dharamshala team experienced remarkable growth, expanding to over 20 developers within a span of three years." 

This growth was accompanied by notable achievements, including securing high-profile clients like the British Council, CARE India, and MindTree. These successes underscored Gai Technologies' proficiency in delivering complex Drupal solutions and marked significant milestones in the company’s journey.

 Krishnan Narayanan CEO of Gai Technologies
 Krishnan Narayanan, CEO of Gai Technologies

Every Thursday, Gai dedicates a few hours to what they call "Open Source Thursdays," encouraging their developers to contribute to open source initiatives. This practice not only enhances their developers' skills but also enriches the community with their contributions.

"We try to pick up major areas and sub-systems within Drupal to contribute," Krishnan N stated, highlighting their engagement strategy within the Drupal community. Despite not attending DrupalCons, the company maintains a robust presence on, echoing its commitment to the Drupal project and the broader community. 

Like many companies in the current technological landscape, Gai Technologies is engaged in projects involving large data, graph databases, and JavaScript/headless Drupal, indicating a clear direction for the company's future endeavors. Notably, the company has chosen to refer to its initiatives in the open-source sphere as OSS or OS, "acknowledging the misconception in the term "free" in FOSS, as it often overlooks the substantial effort and resources involved."

 Gai Technologies office image
 Gai Technologies 

One of the key milestones for Gai was the project with CARE India, where they played a crucial role in shaping the organization's web ecosystem. Similarly, their work with IDG to converge multiple magazines into a Drupal multi-site stands out as a testament to their expertise in handling complex content syndication and workflow automation challenges. Gai Technologies has assisted in developing several rapid proof-of-concepts (POCs) for clients. While none of these POCs have achieved large-scale success, they have significantly contributed to the growth and thriving of small companies and non-profit organizations.

"Our clients are well aware they are engaging with a pure-play Open-Source Company," Krishnan N., CEO of Gai Technologies, explained when asked about how the company incorporates the open-source ethos into its business model and how this influences client services. This transparency has attracted clients who appreciate the principles of Open Source, allowing Gai to capitalize on the momentum of Open Source as a secure and reliable ecosystem. 

"In many ways, Gai is capitalizing on the momentum of this positive perception, riding the wave of acceptance and understanding that Open Source provides a complete and safe solution." 

Gai Technologies takes a consultative approach to address the challenge of migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 10. "For certain small to mid-sized websites, the prospect of migration may not be the most sensible choice," said Krishnan N. They educate clients on when migration is viable and when exploring alternative solutions might be more beneficial, emphasizing their expertise in Drupal to guide these decisions.

morning standup image of the team
Gai Technologies team doing the morning standup

Looking ahead, Gai Technologies remains committed to staying at the forefront of Drupal innovation. "The only strategy we have is to contribute and collaborate," Krishnan N. noted, acknowledging the importance of active participation in community projects and initiatives.

As for attracting and nurturing talent, Gai Technologies focuses on cultivating internal resources, particularly through its mentorship programs. "We actively seek individuals with a positive attitude and a natural aptitude for coding,"  Krishnan N. commented, outlining their approach to building a consistent pipeline of skilled Drupal experts.

Gai Technologies continues to promote Drupal and other technologies to younger audiences, emphasizing the importance of understanding various programming languages and frameworks. "Programming is still an art," the Gai Technologies team remarked, highlighting the company's philosophy of encouraging developers to adapt and learn across different platforms.

Apart from technology, the philosophy that runs Gai Technologies is commendable. There is a reason the company has its headquarters in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. The word 'Hima' in Sanskrit means snow, and the word achalam or achal means mountain. Himachal is the valley state of India situated in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas. Dharamshala, though technically a city, is nothing like a large metropolis such as Mumbai or Delhi. Rather, it is situated in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley and is surrounded by dense coniferous forests. 

Moving from bustling cities to high-altitude plains with abundant fresh air and natural air conditioning is a dream for many. It promises a certain lifestyle, akin to the Greek word 'pathos' in a positive sense. More than that, it brings resources to otherwise austere tier-three cityscapes where life puts a speed breaker on. 

Despite the challenges associated with geographical expansion and scaling operations, Gai Technologies has established offices in Tirthahalli, Karnataka, and Thimphu, Bhutan, reflecting their ongoing commitment to growth and evolution. 

Tirthahalli is a small mythical town near the banks of Tunga in Karnataka, South India. Though the capital city of the Kingdom of Bhutan, Thimphu is also a hill valley with serene mountain ranges in sight. These are not the places where IT/ITES companies normally flock. However, it helps boost the economy of these seemingly 'non-happening' places. The generation of jobs from around these areas is not a small feat. 

Gai Technologies Pvt Ltd stands out in the Drupal community not just for its technical expertise but also for its commitment to fostering an open-source culture that resonates deeply with its clients and the broader industry.

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