It has been in my mind for a long time, to visit KINNAKORAY and HIRIYASEEGAY villages. For the simple reason that they are quite far off from the main towns of Ooty and Coonoor and I was sure that the sheer distance from the maddening crowd would help these hattis to retain the old world charm of ORIGINAL BADAGAS. To add to my curiosity, part of the lands – holas and thottas [agricultural fields and tea estates]- of these villages fall under the jurisdiction of Kerala. That too in the forest areas of the stunning silent valley region.
I wondered,’could it be also a point to prove the theory that Badagas are one of the original inhabitants of the Nilgiris massif as Kinnakorai and Hiriyaseegay are far away from the Mysore plains from which it is generally assumed that Badaga migration started. Imagine, the sheer determination of our ancestors to choose such places to build their villages amidst thick forests that are cut off from the ‘world’ literally.
Some time earlier, Dr.Sudhakar wrote from Dubai to say that Kinnakorai belongs to Porangadu Seemae and not to Kunday Seemae as I had assumed (based on Dr.P.Hockings findings). Recently a young budding engineer Anand wrote to say the same thing. Kinnakorai is part of Porangadu. I could not wait any longer. Availing an opportunity of a visit to Ketchigatti (Manjoor), and unable to resist the ‘open invitation’ of Anand [whom I have not met so far], I visited Kinnakorai on 9th Jan, 2011 along with my better half who shares my passion for and about Badagas.
Kinnakorai is about two hours of journey from Manjoor via Mel Kunday and Thiasolai [is it THAI SOLAI or THIASOLAI?]. By the way Manjoor itself is about 2 hours journey from Hubbathalai (Coonoor). As Anand had mentioned the climate changes dramatically without any warning. The day we travelled, the winter mist covered the road forcing us to use fog lamps but adding to the mystique and unique experience.
Every minute of the visit was worth it and I feel very happy that I have seen a bit of Badaga heritage and would strongly recommend that every Badaga should visit this wonderful place.
On the way, we had the pleasure of seeing some wild life – Sambar , Kada maanu – [See photo]. The never failing Badaga hospitality was in full force with Anand’s father Ravi, who works in the HPF, Ooty but had come to his hatti on the weekend, called up to say that we have to have lunch in his house.
Only after reaching Kinnakorai and exchanging pleasantries with Anand’s parents and his ever cheerful, warm hearted grand mother, did I realise that Kinnakorai is indeed a cluster of hattis with one hatti being a ‘nattaru’ hatti and hence marriage [among the cluster] is possible. And, Kinnakorai is part of Porangadu. I am convinced after talking to the village elders, especially Bella Gowder.
Kinnakore commune [Ooru] consisits of Kinnakorai, Heria seeege,Hosahatti,Ummattipadige Melur, Bikkatti
The beauty is that both Kinnakorai and Heriaseegay have Hakka- Bakkas.
We had a wonderful session with Anand’s younger grandfather [above] who gave us many insights to Badaga migration at his house. Hope to put this video recording in youtube.
We could not refuse the fantastic lunch of avaray udakka and special rasam prepared by Anand’s mother Mallika , though we could have it only at 4pm due to my insistance that we visit the hattis first.
How can I forget to put on record my deep gratitude to Anand’s grandmother who, being a ever graceful Badaga lady, would not say goodbye to us without ‘nattu’ [gift] of coffee beans grown in her estate.
Anand has also sent many pix of his village, some of which are given below :
Let me end with my deep appreciation to Anand, his parents and grandma for the wonderful trip!