On the unique BADAGA community of the Nilgiris in Southern India…their origin, language, culture and customs !!
Website of Wing commander Bellie Jayaprakash that is regularly updated and more info added
The following photos are from Thurston’s Book “Castes and Tribes of South India” published in 1909 by Government of India Press, Madras
Two little Badaga Girls on the cover
The picture of a Badaga Man [see the Badagaru Seele he has wrapped around that has distinctive borders and has not changed in centuries ].
(From ” Badagas and Irulas of Nilgiris(MGMB Vol.II No.I) – by Thurston.E)
Kundeh Ketchigatti Hetthe & Ayya (VaNa KaNa Family)
Photo by Royal Geographical Society
This photo taken in 1908, while showing many men shows only two women. Notice the roof of the house in the background- the complete absence of tiles (Odu)
from CUSTOMS OF THE WORLD
BY WALTER HUTCHINSON 1931
<strong>Badaga Temple</strong> (1873) made out of grass called ‘<strong>Hullu Gudi</strong>’ (Bana Gudi)
Badagas, in their DHODDA KUPPACHA (a flowing gown like attire) dancing to Kota music.
Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder [Hubbathalai] with his bride Gauri [Jakkadha] – 1920
This is the view of Edha Mane or Inner room. All the edha manes were of the same design in typical Badaga Homes in olden days
Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder with British Engineers and workers at Bridge No.33 between Coonoor & Mettupalayam. Bellie Gowder was involved in laying the Nilgiri Mountain Raiway, now WORLD HERITAGE, a hundred years ago. He was conferred with the title RAO BAHADUR for carrying out the excellent but challenging contract work of building this unique railway system in inhospitable forest area that also involved in cutting tunnels through rocky hills as well as building many bridges with sheer guts. He employed human power to lift the racks & rails and remove the rocks and boulders. Many of his workers were BADAGAS who addressed Bellie Gowder as BELLIE MAISTRY
Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder became very famous after help laying the Nilgiri Mountain Railway between Ooty & Mettupalayam and British Officilas who visited Nilgiris accepted his invitation to come to his house in Hubbathal Village. This photo taken on 27-12-1934 shows the water tank & “Mel Tharas” (upper street houses) of Hubbathalai
Rao Bahadur HJ Bellie Gowder with boy scouts of Hubbathai School which he built (1929) (Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder with his grand sons (1929)
Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder’s wife Mrs. Nanji Hethe with the wife of British Governor of Madras in 1930s.( This photo was taken at Hubbathalai Hatti when the Governor along with his wife had paid a visit on Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder’s invitation to open the first school built by Bellie Gowder. The British guest was presented with the lock – made of pure gold – that he unlocked to open the school building)
Nanji Hethe with her first grand daughter Radha [daughter of Mrs.Kade Idyammal (Photo taken about 65 years back)
This photo taken in 1927 of (15 years old) Kade – later on Mrs.Idyammal, daughter of Rao Bahadur H J Bellie Gowder & sister of Rao Bahadur H B Ari Gowder with her husband Mr.B K Bellie Gowder (Beratti)
[Parents of the author of this website Bellie Jayaprakash]
Mr.B.K. Bellie Gowder was one of the few educated Badagas who studied upto VIII in St.Antony’s School, Coonoor and completed his SSLC (School Final) from St.Michael’s High School, Coimbatore in early 1900s. There was no ‘regular’ high schools in Nilgiris in those days.
My father -Mr.BK Bellie Gowder in 1969 (just before his death).
Water Colour painting by his son, Bellie Jayaprakash (that is me)
My mother – Mrs. (Kade) Idyammal, now 98 years old
(Photo taken on her birthday on 02-09-2006 -probably one of the oldest Badaga ladies).
Young Men Badaga Association 1941 – 42
[ photo courtesy ; Badaga Welfare Association, Madras -Silver Jubilee & Rao Bahadur H B Ari Gowder Centenary Celebations souvenir 1993 ]
Kerbetta Madha Gowder – Probably the only Badaga who wears the turban like a sikh. Incidentally, he is very fluent in ARABIC and teaches many muslims from Nilgiris who go to Haj
Late Janaki Ammal, right extreme in the first photo, [wife of late Ari Kari Gowder of Hubbathalai]
Late Kerban Bella Gowder, One of the golden Voices of Badagas, whose rendering of SAVU songs can make even the stone hearted to cry
Rao Bahadur HJ Bellie Gowder’s sister -photo taken abt 80 years back
Drawing &photos- from Paul Hockings’ books ‘Counsel from the Ancients: A Study of Badaga Proverbs, Prayers, Omens and curses’ and ‘Mortuary rituals…’
These rare photos are also displayed at my blogspot
Rare photos —> http://badaga-photos.blogspot.com/
Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash B.E.(GCT,Madras Univ).,M.B.A (FMS, Delhi Univ)