IRULAR

Irulas are an ethnic group of India. They inhabit the area of the Nilgiri mountains, in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, India. A scheduled tribe, their population in this region is estimated at 25,000 people. The Irula speak Irula, which belongs to the Dravidian family.

The Irulas live in two south Indian states – Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In Tamil Nadu they live in the Nilgiris, Coimbatore and Erode districts. In Kerala they live in the Palakkad district and Attapady and Walayar panchayats.

They live in 4 taluks in Coimbatore district, namely Coimbatore South, Coimbatore North, Avinashi and Madathukulam. The Coimbatore district houses 4254 Irulas in 40 settlements comprising 139 villages. Nearly 100 Vettakada Irula settlements are found in the forest areas or in the deep mountainous jungles. There are 4 tribal settlements in the Siruvani Hills comprising 14 villages.

The Census of Kerala identified 756 Irulan individuals from 189 families, who lived in 9 settlements covering 23 km in the state.The Irula speak the Irula language as a mother tongue. A member of the Dravidian family, it is most closely related to Tamil, Yerukala, Sholaga and other Tamil languages.