Exploration of a place could be of different levels. Some people feel visiting the touristy place at a particular place enough completes their exploration process, while some are of the opinion that studying the art, culture and traditions of the place is necessary. Some are even more curious and they believe in visiting the rural areas and interacting with the native people who are still practicing the traditions that their forefathers had taught. If you believe in the third kind of exploration, and if your next vacation venue is Ooty, then plan your trip in such a way so that there is some time in hand to meet the Badagas.
The Badagas are a group of indigenous people of the Nilgiris and their population is scattered over 300 villages on the hills. While making a list of the top places to visit in Ooty you can add some of the villages that are easily reachable from this romantic hill station, to get introduced to the sons of the soil. Though history says that the Badagas originated in Mysore and migrated to the Nilgiris after the break-up of Vijayanagara, they are now one of the oldest inhabited races here and considered as natives. They speak in Badaga, a special language which is a dialect of Kannada and they are Hindus by religion though they worship deities like Hethai and Aaya, apart from Shiva and Ranganatha.
By spending some time with the Badagas you can know about their origin, their history and lots of interest facts about their castes. A specialty of the Badagas that that will surely attract you is the attire of the women, which is a simple single white cloth. They also present the cloth as a gesture of goodwill when their village is being visited by dignitaries. Though previously agriculture used to be the prime source of livelihood for the Badagas, today many people from the race are highly educated and earning livelihood from office jobs. Many are settled in the urban areas, but the seniors are still happy in their traditional environment. The Badagas are demanding from long to the Central government for recognition as a scheduled Tribe but it is yet to happen.
Ooty has got a lot to offer to tourists and explorers but how does the trip become unique if you visit only the prime attractions. Manage some time to have a date with the Badagas so that your trip to Nilgiris becomes a story to share with others who have gone back home visiting the botanical garden, strolling on the valley and riding on the toy train.
Article is written by Manya Singh. Beer, Coffee, Gadgets & travel are few things Manya can die for. As a blogger & creative writer she is she is working for leading online travel planner of India. At work she is responsible for planning & managing best holiday packages for travelers.