Today is a clear day with bright sunlight in the hills. The hills, I am referring to is the Nilgiris, my native place. Every time I drive ‘into’ the hills, either from Mysore via Bandipur and Kallatti Ghats or from Mettupalayam via Kotagiri Aravenu and Haakeri or from Karamadai via Mulli and Geddai [Kundah], my heart is filled with happiness and joy. Such beauty is bestowed on these blue hills by the Almighty. Probably, the Nature wants to show off or should I say, show case its glorious exterior in a truly grand fashion.
The Nilgiris – Neela [Blue] Giris [Hills] – literally ‘The blue mountains’ is popularly known to Badagas as ‘Naakku Betta’ – though Naakku Betta means Four Mountains, in fact it refers to all the mountains, hills and hillocks spread around the Nigiri range.
Badaga Villages, called Hattis, are spread far and wide in these hills. These hattis exists ONLY in these hills. In short, there can be no Badagas without the Nilgiris and no Nilgiris [history] without Badagas. Every Badaga, where ever he/she may be, can always trace the roots to some hatti/town in the beautiful blue mountains.
Blessed are the Badagas. Yes, indeed!
Here are some pix taken by Wg Cdr Bellie Jayaprakash
So, to say the least, all of us, the natives of the Nilgiris, have a stake in the ‘well being’ of our district and save it from the mindless destruction of its beauty and eco system. Hence, we must lend our supporting hands to any one who has taken to ‘DO SOMETHING’. Be it, Mª Teresa Llop Navarro (from Spain) who has started a NGO – “Es Purna” to help out the poor especially in the field of girl-child education in the Nilgiris, the NDC of Venugopal Dharmalingam or the bunch of youngsters lead by Prabhu Purnan who have created ‘WOW Nilgiris – now, has the mankind seen any place better then this?’.
‘Wow, the Nilgiris’
What strikes one at the first glance of their web sites is the most beautiful pictures of the Nilgiris. Though born and brought up in this ‘nature’s gift’, some of the pics made me wonder whether they are really taken here.
As ‘WOW Nilgiris’ describes, ‘ Mak’ing YOU wonder if these places do exist in Nilgiris, an out and out “off the regular” escapades, taking you in to the world of sholas, grasslands, thickets and breathtaking vistas to chase the clouds, sight the unique Nilgiri Thar and Martens squirrels’.
Congratulations to Prabhu Purnan and his friends. I understand Deepak Bhojraj, a Badaga, is another gifted photoghapher, and an article on him appears in ‘TheLOCAL’, [Dec, 2009 issue] a monthly published from Aravankadu.
Photos by Prabhu Purnan (copyright)
On my request to reproduce some of their pictures, Purnan has kindly sent me his consent and writes > hello mr JP. i am in fact following your blog keenly. its my pleasure to be profiled in your blog, the very purpose of this blog is to send across the messages to folks around. yep you can use any of the fotos you want and let me know if you need any specific fotos from here as well. another thing myself and deepak bhojraj are good friends he keeps telling me that your blog is really informative but cultured a small suggestion thats it you can mail deepak on more about it. With warm Regards, Prabhu Purnan D
Visit their websites where you will not only find some extraordinary photos but also a wealth of information on the beautiful Blue Mountains. I am sure that they will make you say ‘WoW’.
[This post is reproduced)