BADUGA HISTORY

The Badugas are the largest aboriginal Tribes of the Nilgiri district. Nilgiris was originally a tribal land.

The Badugas live in nearly 303 villages, called "Hattis", throughout the district. Baduga people speak the language called "Badugu." Language has no Script.

Some of the villages  are Kukal, Kadanad, Ithalar, Nundala, Meluru, Hulical, Athikaratty, Melkunda, Kilkundha, Ketti, Thanthanadu, Milidenu, Nandatti, Jakkanari, Aravenu, Thinniyoor, Iyooru, Kannerimukku, Beragany, Pethuva, Jakkatha, Thuneri etc.,

They are also called as Gowdas of  Nilgiris.

Badugas belong to paleolithic period. 

Baduga Tribe inhabited Nilgiris thousands and thousands of years ago even before Lord Christ was Born. They are inhabiting in Nilgiris over 8000 B.C ("Nilgiri Comperehensive Pocket Guide by Shobana Swaminathan 1998:66, Reprint 2005", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal by R.Sugumaran Vol IV, 2009:5").

Precious Stone Trade was carried on between Indus Valley civilization(5000 B.C) and the Nilgiris. At Mohanja Daro and Harappa, "The beautiful green amazon stone could be found near Doddabetta, Nilgiris." Probably Doddabetta derived from Baduga Words ("Dodda - Big"+ "Betta - Mountain", "Doddabetta"), ("History and Philosophy of Lingayat by Sakhare M.R., 1978:39","The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:16").

During Mouriyan period(321 B.C - 184 AD) Buddhist Monks entered Nilgiris to spread Buddhism among the Badugas in Nilgiris, where came the tree worship among Badugas("Manuals of the Nilgiri District by H.B.Grigg, 1880:259", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris by Dr.J Halan, 2012:146", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran,  2014:12"). Still there is a place called "Mouria Manae" in Nilgiris, belonging to Badugas.

During Kadamba(2AD - 6AD) period, the land revenue and other taxes were collected from Badugas of Nilgiris. Food grains were measured by "Kolaga" and "20 Kolaga" a "Kanduga", "Kolaga" in Baduga is "Koga". Still the word Koga is used by Baduga people. Food grains were paid as a tax to Kadambas("Gazetteer of India by B.L.Rice, 1877: 468", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:144", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran,  2014:12"). 

Later, during Ganga Dynasty(200 AD to around 930AD), a Ganga general came to Nilgiris in 908 AD saw the Badugas living in Nilgiris; says, can find a Fort near Droog. A Baduga Chief has built the Fort ("Gazetteer of India by Gopala krishnan, 1995:204"). No doubt Nilgiris was an administrative unit of Gangas("The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:142", "Nilgiri, Perangadu sects and Religious Traditions by A. RamaKrishnan, 1993:28", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:12")

Raja Raja Cholan I, was crossing eighteen forests for the sake of his emissary to visit Nilgiris and reached the Nilgiris around 985 - 1014 and found Badugas("Kerala state Gazetteer, by K.K.Ramachandran, 1986, Vol II:184", "Gazetteer of India, by M.Gopala Krishnan, 1995:206", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:140", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran , 2014:13").

In 1116 A.D. a Baduga King called Kalaraja was ruling Nilgiris. Vishnuvardana of Hoysala Kingdom of Karnataka was the first king to invade Nilgiris, sent his army and tried to threaten the Badugas and ordered to obey him.

The Brave Baduga King, Kalaraja refused his order and fought with him. In his second invation, 1142 Hoysala army killed Kalaraj's son, inspite of his son death Kalaraja refused to obey Vishnuvardana. In third invation, 1162 King kala was killed by Hoysalas. Three inscriptions refers to Kala's rule from his fort in Kukal Village("Epigraphia Carnatica by B.L.Rice, 1877: Vol:IV, Chp:2"). It testified that King Kala was ruling from 1116 AD and implied that his ancestors had been living here centuries earlier. King Kala was killed in a "Dhandu(war)",("Epigraphia Carnatica by B.L.Rice, 1877: Vol:IV, Chp:2", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:139", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal by R.Sugumaran, Vol IV 2011:5,6, Vol V,2014:13"). 

Nilgiris was called as Baduga Nad or Baduga Country("Ootacamund A History by Frederick Price in 1908: 15,16", "Madras District Gazateer (The Nilgiris) by W.Francis, 1908:209", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:13").

Later in 13th century, the Hoysala Kingdom was defeated by Vijayanagara Empire("Madras District Gazetteer (Bellary) by W.Francis, 1904:31"), so Nilgiri came under Vijayanagara Empire.

Later Nilgiris came under  Sulthan rules. Later in 1799, British defeated Tipu Sultan and captured Nilgiris. Utill then Nilgiris was a part of Mysore Province later merged with Madras province, after Independence.

Even before Britishers arrived to Nilgiris, a Portuguese Priest called Rev. Jocome Fierier visited Nilgiris in 1602("Primitives Tribes and Monuments Of The Nilgiris by James Wilkinson Breekes, 1873:33"). He did not stay in Nilgiris. He returned back and informed that he found a group of Tribal people called Badugas and Todas.

In 1800 Buchanan made a one-day visit to Nilgiris, partly describes its climate, forest collection, swidden farming and cattle keeping of the Nilgirians and the lifestyle of Badugaru("Mysore,Canara and Malabar by Buchanan in 1807:161", "Neilgherry Guide and directory, South Indian Observers by Almanack, 1866", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:15", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:1"). 

In 1814, Williams Key visited Nilgiris from the plains of Coimbatore("A Topographical Description of neelaghery Mountains in appendix of H.B.Griggs, 1880:XLVIII", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:15", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:2") Wish and Kindersley visited Nilgiri in 1819. John Sullivan visited Nilgiris in 1819 with help from Badugas.

Precious Stone Trade was carried on between Indus Valley civilization and the Nilgiris. At Mohanja Daro and Harappa, "The beautiful green amazon stone could be found near Doddabetta", Nilgiris. Probably Doddabetta derived from Baduga Words("Dodda - Big"+ "Betta - Mountain", Doddabetta)("History and Philosophy of Lingayat by Sakhare M.R., 1978:39", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:16").

Lord Hethe worship is in practice since around 1200 year ago i.e., 826A.D. Their principle object of adoration is named as "Hette-du"("Letters on the Climate, inhabitants, Production etc., South India by James Hough, 1826:97", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:141").

Todas paid tribute to Baduga Headmen("Primitives Tribes and Monuments Of The Nilgiris by James Wilkinson Breekes, 1873:727", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:46"). Later it was wrongly told that Badugas paid tribute to Toda("Ancient Hindu Refugees by Paul Hocking, 1980:14", "The Todas by Rivers, 1906:727").

Baduga people distinguished their living place into four categories called Porangadu seemae, Thothanadu(Thodanadu became Thothanadu)seemae, Merkunadu seeame, Kundae seeame, where nearly 440 Villages come under these four seeame.

The Community has four clans as, Badugar, Kanakar, Haruvar, Athikari. Badugas have no kolas. Baduga people marry with these four clans and they don't marry Wodayar and Thorayar as they are not a part of the community.

Baduga tribal language called "Badugu" was the contact language between Badugas and other tribal people before Britishers and other community people arrived to Nilgiris.

Many names of places in the Nilgiris District are derived from the Badugu language, e.g., Doddabetta, Coonoor, Kotagiri, Gudaluru, Kunda and Othagae(Ooty), Kattabetu, Kodanadu, Aravenu etc., 

Due to lack of script, Baduga people could not record their history.

Wodeas and others are the Migrants from Mysore during king Wodeyar Raja period, during 16th century("Aborigines of Nilgiris with their remarks on their affinities by B.H. Houghson, 1856:503", "The Tribes and casts of Madras presidency by M.A.Sherring, 1907:173", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:4", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:48")

On 30th March 1814 William Keys came from plains of Coimbatore and reached Denad (Kil Kotagiri). He met a group of Wodeas and had conversations with them and collected information about them. Wodaes told that they migrated from Mysore around 16th century and now they live in Nigiris along with Baduga Neighbors. 

William Keys, by his obscure notice,  he simply grouped them into three - Badugas, Wodeas, and Toreas migrated from Mysore and thus emerged the factual error. Thus, in 1897, when Edgur Thurston wrote a book called "Anthropological Bulletin" and "Cast and Tribes of South India(reprint) in 1909", he followed the field work done by William Keys("A Topographical Description of neelaghery Mountains in appendix of H.B.Griggs, 1880:XLVIII") and, Thurston also gave a wrong information that Badugas migrated from Mysore.

Wodeas people are not a part of the Baduga community, they don't marry Baduga community people, they still marry from Mysore of their sept(" The Tribe Inhabiting the Neilgheery Hills by Metz 1864:61", "Anthropological Bulleton by E. Thurston, 1897:1", "Sex and Disease in a Mountain community by Paul Hockings, 1980:855", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:146""Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:48"). 

Baduga men attended the Toda and kota panchayat to solve their problems. Kotas followed the Baduga custom("Gazetteer of India by B.L.Rice, Vol III, 1877:237", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran 2014:10"). 

Many research has been done on Baduga community and one of the important researches was done by a French Linguist Called Christian Pilot Raichoor. She has proved that Badugas are the aboriginal Tribes of Nilgiris and they speak an unique language, not a dialect of any language.

The Todas where not the first inhabitants of Nilgiris("The Manual of Nilgiri District by H.B.Grigg in 1880:333", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran 2014:46")The other two tribes that are not found in plateau are Toda and Kota("Gazetteer of South India, Vol II by W.Francis, 1908", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran 2014:46")Todas, Kotas and Kurumbas may be considered as aboriginal but not truly so("Nilgiri Guide and Directory by J.S.C.Eagon, 1916:99", "Manual of Nilgiri District, by H.B.Grigg, 1880:219", "Society in India by David G. Mandelbaum 1972 Vol II:600", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:10"). 

Tundu" (a white piece of cloth) forms an integral part of the attire of Baduga women, and it is presented to dignitaries visiting the villages as a gesture of goodwill. Badugas marry within their community, and there are strict rules about which clan may intermarry with which other. They celebrate Mari Habba, Uppu Attuva Habba, etc., and their important festival is Hethe Habba.

Religion

Badugas worship several Hindu deities, including Shiva, but their main deities are Hethai and Ayya. They celebrate Hethai Habba in a grand fashion spread over a month during December–January every year, and the festival is celebrated all over the district. They also celebrate Devva Habba yearly once through out the district, considered as an important festival. 


UNKNOWN FACTS

There are many interesting facts about Badugas which are unknown to the world.

Badugas are the aboriginal Tribes of Nilgiris.

Badugas belong to paleolithic period. 

Badugas lived in Nilgiris thousand and thousands of years ago, even before Lord Christ was born i.e., over 8000 B.C. ("Nilgiri Comperehensive Pocket Guide by Shobana Swaminathan 1998:66, Reprint 2005"), another road to Betalada, here there is selikallu temple; two huge stone carved with figures of horseman and man with axes, presumed to be more than 10,000 years old. Betlada is a well-to-do Baduga Village("Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal by R.Sugumaran 2009:5").

In 1116 A.D. a Baduga King called Kalaraja was ruling Nilgiris. Vishnuvardana of Hoysala Kingdom of Karnataka was the first king to invade Nilgiris, sent his army and tried to threaten the Badugas and ordered to obey him.

The Brave Baduga King, Kalaraja refused his order and fought with him. Three inscriptions refers to Kala's rule from his fort in Kukal Village("Epigraphia Carnatica by B.L.Rice, 1877: Vol:IV, Chp:2"). It testified that King Kala was ruling from 1116 AD and implied that his ancestors had been living here centuries earlier. King Kala was killed in a "Dhandu (war)", ("Epigraphia Carnatica by B.L.Rice, 1877: Vol:IV, Chp:2", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:139", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:13"). 

Even before Britishers arrived to Nilgiris, a Portuguese Priest called Rev. Jocome Fierier visited Nilgiris in 1602("Primitives Tribes and Monuments Of The Nilgiris by James Wilkinson Breekes, 1873:33"). He did not stay in Nilgiris. He returned back and informed that he found group of Tribal people called Badugas and Todas. He has spoken on Christianity with Badugas.

Hethe Worship

Lord Hethe worship is in practice since around 1200 years ago i.e., 826 A.D. Their principle object of adoration is named as "Hette-du"("Letters on the Climate, inhabitants, Production etc., South India by James Hough, 1826:97", ", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:141").

At first Hethe festival was celebrated at Banacombai, Kannerimuku Village later shifted to Beragani Village.

We can't find any crow in Beragany Hethe Temple, during festival times even though sumptuous food being served through the day.

Cloth Making

Their clothes were spun with the fibres of Hullathu (Debregeasia valutina) and Thurusay barks. The specimen of them can be seen even now being presented to the dead body of a women by her maternal relatives. No special machine had been used for spinning of clothes("The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:17").

Tree Worship

Nilgiri was within the hegemony of Mauriyan Empire, many customs of Badugas are based on Buddhist practice, from where came the Tree Worship. Their credence is that the trees are abodes of Gods and bogies. Even today, people are in perpetual fear of nearing these solitary trees. "Nerla(Engelia Cataphyllifolia Wight Myrtacea)" called "Neri mara in Baduga" considered as Holly Tree("The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:146", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:12").

Precious Stone Trade

Precious Stone Trade was carried on between Indus Valley civilization and the Nilgiris. At Mohanja Daro and Harappa, "The beautiful green amazon stone could be found near Doddabetta, Nilgiris." Probably Doddabetta derived from Baduga Words ("Dodda - Big"+ "Betta - Mountain", "Doddabetta"), ("History and Philosophy of Lingayat by Sakhare M.R., 1978:39","The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:16").

Badugas have their own worship methods, they don't follow vedahas. They don't have an idol worship. They have their own death rituals.

The Community has four clans, namely Badugar, Kanakar, Haruvar, and Athikari. Badugas have no kolas. Baduga people marry within these four clans and they don't marry Wodayar and Thorayar as they are not part of the community.

Baduga tribal language called "Badugu" was the contact language between Badugas and other tribal people before Britishers and other community people arrived to Nilgiris.

Many names of places in the Nilgiris District are derived from the Badugu language, e.g., Doddabetta, Coonoor, Kotagiri, Gudaluru, Kunda, Otthagae(Ooty), Kattabetu, Kodanadu, Aravenu etc.,

There were no cows in Nilgiris until Britishers arrived to Nilgiris, cows were brought by them.

No Tea gardens, Eucalyptus tree and Vegetables like Carrot, Potato, Cauliflower, cabbage etc., were in Nilgiris until Britishers arrived to Nilgiris, were brought by Britishers. 

Nilgiris was a part of Mysore until 19th century, later merged with Madras after democracy.

Otthagae was the original name of ooty. Later it was called in different names like ootacamund, Ooty and Udagai.

Kota-kerri is the original name of Kotagiri. Probably Kota-Kerri is a Baduga name.

Baduga men attended the Toda and kota panchayat to solve their problems. Kotas followed the Baduga customs("Gazetteer of India by B.L.Rice, 1877:237" , "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:10").

King Wodeya Raja of Mysore threatened Wodeyas and others to convert to Vaisnava sect from Saiva Sect. To protect themselves they Migrated to Nilgiris around 16 century("Aborigines of Nilgiris with their remarks on their affinities by B.H. Houghson, 1856:503", "The Tribes and casts of Madras presidency by M.A.Sherring, 1907:173", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:4", "MalaiNaattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:48").

Wodeyas and others are Migrants from Mysore and claim themself as a Badugas. Wodeyas still marry from Mysore of their Sect.("Ancient Hindu Refugees by Paul Hocking, 1980:85", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:48", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:4").

Todas paid tribute to Baduga Headmen("Primitives Tribes and Monuments Of The Nilgiris by James Wilkinson Breekes, 1873:727", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:46"). Later it was wrongly told that Badugas paid tribute to Todas("Ancient Hindu Refugees by Paul Hocking, 1980:14", "The Todas by Rivers, 1906:727").

There is a temple for Kariyabetta Ayya in Nelithorai village near Mettupalayam, Coimbatore. Temple belongs to Adikaratty (Baduga Village) people, they used to do puja in that temple. It’s an interesting story, and the legend goes like this - the incident took place around 2500 B.C. to 3000 B.C.; once Kariyabetta Ayya from Nilgiris visited Nelithorai, he accidently met a Rakshasha, that Rakshasha tried to kill Kariyabetta Iyya but the brave Kariyabetta Iyya slaughtered the Rakshasha into pieces. As the blood of Rakshasha dropped in soil, each drop changed as an insect and tried to attack Kariyabetta but the divine Karitabetta turned himself to a statue. Even now, we can see the statue in that temple.

You could learn about Rakshasha in ancient history of India. But after Lord Buddha was born, you could not find any evidence of existence of these Rakshashas. Budda period is around 500 B.C. So Lord Kariyabetta Iyya’s incident should have been be taken place over 2500 B.C.

The Todas where not the first inhabitants of Nilgiris ("The Manual of Nilgiri District by H.B.Grigg in 1880:333", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:10"). The other two tribes are not found in plateau are Kota and Kurumba("Gazetteer of South India, Vol II by W.Francis, 1908", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:10").

Todas, Kotas, Kurumbas may be considered as aboriginal but not truly so("Nilgiri Guide abd Directory by J.S.C.Eagon, 1916:99", "Manual of Nilgiri District, by H.B.Grigg, 1880:219", "Society in India by David G. Mandelbaum 1972 Vol II:600", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:10").






























































CULTURE

Badugas have an unique culture which is entirely different from other communities.

The Badugas are an important Tribe of Nilgiris and their Culture is very rich and unique in many ways. The tribal ways of doing rituals while celebrating the following life-cycle rituals by Badugas even today reveals the fact that they followed a distinctive tribal culture in the Nilgiri hills.

They have certain rules and regulations to be followed in implementing their cultural rituals from the birth of a child and follows through functions like Puberty, Marriage, Naming ceremony, Seventh Month Pregnancy, Housewarming, Festivals and finally Death ceremony.

Naming Ceremony

A child receives its name on the seventh, ninth, or eleventh day. A sumptuous meal is given to the guests who attend the function. Grandfather milks a cow and pours the milk into a brass plate and a little cooked samai grain is mixed. The baby is washed with water brought from a stream; marked on the forehead with sacred ashes; a turmeric – dyed thread is tied around its waist; a silver or iron bangle placed on its wrists; and a silver bead tied by a thread around its neck. Thus decorated, the infant is taken up by the oldest man of the village who is not a widower, who gives baby a name, which has already been chosen. The elders, child’s parents and grandparents then feed little milk to the infant. 
Puberty ceremony

The puberty Ceremony is also unique. The maternal uncles have to bring new mud pots. The girl is given a ceremonial wash and decorated with new dress and ornaments; one of which should necessarily be the special “malaimani” made of “silver” which was used by the girl’s ancestors. The mud pot is filled with water and the girl is made to dip her hand in that water thrice. Later, prayers are done and the relatives who attend the function are served with food.

Marriage ceremony 

The Baduga men and women have equal rights in matters of human bondage and family life. Since the Baduga society is a proverbial kinship society, a Baduga male and a female can enter into matrimonial alliance only where the kinship relationship permits. Dowry is unthinkable among the Badugas, who are proud people with unique self-respect. “Thali” was alien to the Baduga culture, but is widely used for identification in their association with outsiders to show that the girl is married. 

They have peculiar marriage customs. Marriage, as a rule, is held at Bridegroom’s residence. The parents of the boy would locate a suitable girl for him. If the kinship relation permits, they ascertain through the elders as to whether they could take the girl as a bride for their son. If the response from the girl’s parents is positive, some elders are sent to the girls house on an appointed date and the alliance is initiated by a ritual called “holding the right hand” A date is fixed for confirmation. 

On the appointed day, The Bridegroom’s party of five members visits the girl’s house late in the evening. The villagers and the kith and kin assembled there would welcome them. The guests wash their legs and mouth and enter in to the girl’s house. Even before drinking a cup of water in that house, the guests would ask the girl’s parents for their consent for the marriage. If assented, the girl is asked to come in front of the elders and give her willingness. Only on getting the girl’s consent, the traditional necklace called ‘Ungaramani’ and the eldest lady of the Bridegroom’s party ties it to the neck of the Bride. Then, the representative of the boy would pay the confirmation money of Rs (200) Two hundred only, all in one rupee coins. 

Before marriage day evening, the Bridegroom’s party of five members will be sent to the house of the bride and stay there. Early morning, the next day, the party will lead the Bride and her relatives to the Bridegroom’s house. As soon as bride enters to the Bridegroom’s house, the mother-in-law welcomes her daughter-in-law by offering water for cleaning her feet, then she would tie the ‘malai mani’ a typical and indispensable Baduga ornament made of silver around the neck of the bride, who is then, permitted to step into the house where elders who have specific kinship relation would bless her.

A ceremonial milk food is prepared and served in a special type of plate called “katchu ganguva” from which the bride and two sisters in-law ceremonially eats tiny morsel of that food. Then she takes the plate to the front courtyard of the house and washes it. 

Then the bride along with five sister-in-laws go to the stream and fetch fresh and pure water (as a sign that she has entered upon her household duties). On reaching back home, eleven elders from both the sides Gurus of the couple would sit in a row in front of the marriage pandhal in the courtyard. On cleaned floor, new gunny bags are spread and only a set of beetle nut and a tribute “kanickkai” Rs 1.25 only is placed in front of eleven elders assembled. The couple then simultaneously, bow to touch the feet of each of the Gurus and ceremonially wash their feet; the Gurus and the elders assembled there would bless them in a chorus in a typical Baduga way.

Death Ceremony 

Their death ceremony is unique and the like of which is not prevalent anywhere. The funerals of the Badugas are more complicated than any other of their domestic ceremonies. 

“When a person is at the point of death, a gold coin called ‘Sinnatha Hana’ is placed in his/her mouth. The funeral ceremonies of the Badugas are shared by the Kotas, Todas and Kurumbas. (1908 Gazetteer – page-137).

On the occurrence of a death, the village boys are sent to all the villages, even to the far corners of the hills if the deceased had relations to pass on the message. All assemble at the open ground, mostly in the centre of the village; where the unique Baduga catafalque is placed. The relatives with certain specific kinship relation have to come in group with traditional artifact like the ceremonial pounds suitably decorated, baskets full of certain tribal edibles.

The funeral pyre is lit, not by the eldest son but by the eldest brother in the particular sect of the community. The “Ole” ceremony, the rituals of putting millets on the dead and “Karu Harusuvathu” are extraordinary and exceptional to the Badugas. 

The Badugas observe both the burial and cremation methods. In the olden days, the Badugas put spear heads, stickles, copper, silver and gold ornaments, beads etc., along with the ceremonial edibles brought by the relatives. Nowadays, burying such things have almost disappeared. 

In the case of cremation, the bones are collected on the second day after cremation and preserved in a new mud pot or a cloth and kept in a specified place in the burial ground.

When death occurs in a family, respective villagers take responsibility of death ceremony, while the family doesn't have any burden. 

Folk dance and music 

Their devotion to their own music, dance, folklore and oral literature depicts their long presence on the hills and their oral tradition reflects the ancient Tribal tradition of the Nilgiri hills.

FESTIVALS


Badugas call festivals as "HABBA." Badugas main deities are Hethai and Ayya. They also worship several Hindu deities, including Shiva, Krishna, Khaali, Maari, Muniappa.

They celebrate Hethai Habba in a grand fashion spread over a month during December–January every year, and the festival is celebrated all over the district.

The important festivals are Devva habba, Hethe habba, Sakalathi habba, Uppattuva Habba.  They also worship Sun, Nature and Ancestors. They also celebrate Maa Khali Habba, Dedisimi Habba, Krishna Jeyanthi, Vinayagar Chaturthy, Marri Habba, Murugar Habba, Ramar Habba, Hanuman Jeyanthi etc.,

The aborigine Badaga had prudently observed the origin of forest fire by the violent friction of bamboo stems against one another during the fierce monsoon blows and learnt that they could make fire by rubbing together at two pieces of wood.

Their ancient fire making process still demonstrated and effected as a necessary ritual during their Devva festival. They had produced fire by friction in rubbing two stones or two sticks. The flints are known as ‘Chikkimukki kallu’ (Chikkimukki – Flinting or rubbing, Kallu – stone) meant for that purpose. The fire making process is known as "Niligolu" or upright stick.

Sun Worship

Sun probably called as "Hothu" in Baduga language. The sun worship is a  primitive worship found among Badugas. As soon as they got up early morning, worship Hothu(sun). Hothu considered as an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

Fire Worship

Fire probably called as "Agni Deva" in Baduga language. Fire worship is a primitive worship found among Badugas. Badugas put Mantha Kitchu during Hethe festivals and worship Agni Deva. They used to walk on fire wood pieces as a part of their many festivals. 

Water Worship

Water probably called as "Neeru" and also called as "Gangae" in Baduga language. They worship Gangae as it is base for living. Can find a well near Temples and people pay tribute. Even while crossing a small running water people pay tribute and cross it. 

Snake Workship

Snake probably called as "Nagaappa" and also as "Haavu". Badugas consider snake as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. You could find snake statues in most of the temples. Snake worship is in process from Neolithic peroid.