Badaga people migrated from the area of old Mysore state more than three centuries ago. They speak a language which is very similar to the Old Kannada language. Six distinct groups were identified in Badagas, which are Udaya or Wodeyar, Adhikari, Kanaka, Haruva, Badaga and Thoreya. They also claimed their ancestry to a village named Badaganahalli, near Mysore.
In the 1930s, H. B. Ari Gowder founded the Nilgiris Cooperative Marketing Society (NCMS), to help achieve better prices for Badagas farm products. The NCMS was in response to chicanery by lowland middlemen who would reduce prices by playing off one farmer against another.Hari Gowder was the first Badagas to be elected to the Madras Legislative Council.
"Thundu" (a white piece of cloth) forms integral part of attire of Badaga women and the same is presented to dignitaries visiting the villages, as a gesture of good will.
Badagas worship several Hindu deities, including Shiva. But their main deity is "Hethai" and they celebrate "Hethai Habba" in a grand fashion which spreads over a month during December-January every year, and the festival is celebrated all over the district.
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Badagas.|
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- Badaga Social Network (2010). Badagas of The Nilgiris and the World over