PEOPLES OF THE NILGIRIS 2
The Multi-ethnic World of the
Statistics:Badagas;105,000 (1972 survey), Toda;765 (1965
survey), Kota; 862 (survey 1961), Kurumba (Alu), Kurumba(Betta)
2000-5000, Kurumba (Jenna), Irula 4000 (survey 1985).
The Toda represent the herding component of Nilgiri
life. They were closely tied to their herds of semi-wild buffalo, who moved
about the countryside according to season. The buffalo are intimately connected
with community ritual, from the preparation of milk products to death.
The Toda reject any participation in agriculture, although they traditionally
exchanged pastoral products for grain and forest products produced by other
Nilgiri ethnic communities. The Todas are indeed a community rich in tradition
and ritual with a very limited system of administrative hierarchy.
Three individuals standing in front of a traditional Toda
house. Two of them wear the beautiful Toda embroidered robes.
The Conical Temple
This conical temple, a sacred Ti temple, is one of two presently utilized
by the Todas. Previously there was at least one additional conical temple
in use. The surface covering consists of dried grass.
The Barrel-shaped Temple
This form of temple (also formerly the dominant house-type) is common
in Toda communities.
The Kota Community
The Kota Nilgiri community is made up of seven villages,
each one of which is essentially autonomous. The Kota carry out agriculture
and cattle herding, but are particularly noted for their craft activities.
They are the traditional Nilgiri artisans, producing iron implements, making
the local pottery, producing jewelery, doing carpentry work. For these
services they received grains, milk products and the right to utilize the
meat of sacrificed cattle of other communities. Traditionally they also
provided music for Toda and Badaga events but no longer do so. Again we
are confronted with a society with very rich traditions and a rich ritual
life. This close-knit Nilgiri community claims aboriginal status in the
hills along with the Todas and the Kurumbas.
The Priest and His Family
A picture of the priest and his family from the Kota community bordering
Kilkotagiri. This photo was taken in 198x.
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