When I received Raghu Prakash‘s email along with pictures of Bellie Gowder and his gracious wife Sennai Ammal my mind went back to to the memorable visit to Kinnakorai and Hiriyaseegai. Raghu Prakash writes“….pix of Belli gowder (brother of Sarangi Gowder) and his wife.A man with a wealth of knowledge on Badugas, cows and buffalos and farming. I have spent hours talking to him on the history of Kinnakorai and fortunately he loves to talk when I show interest.
Photo shot in 2005. He is over 90 now and the oldest alive in Kinnakorai”.
Thank you Raghu.
Here is the article I had written after my visit
“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.