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The Badugas (locally known as Baduguru) live in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu, India. They speak the unwritten Baduga language and are the one of the tribes of Nilgiris.</ref>[1][2][3]


The Badugas are the largest Tribes of the Nilgiri district. Throughout the district the Badugas live in nearly 303 villages, called hattis. Baduga people speak the language called "Badugu" ". Language has no Script. Nilgiris was originally a tribal land

Baduga Tribe inhabited Nilgiris thousands and thousands of years ago even before Lord Christ was Born. At Mohanja Daro and Harappa,(5000 B.C) "The beautiful green amazon stone could be found near Doddabetta, Nilgiris." Probably Doddabetta derived from Baduga Words ("Dodda - Big"+ "Betta - Mountain", "Doddabetta"), During Mouriyan period(321 B.C - 184 AD) Buddhist Monks entered Nilgiris to spread Buddhism among the Badugas in Nilgiris, where came the tree worship among Badugas. Still there is a place called "Mouria Manae" in Nilgiris, belonging to Badugas.

In 1116 A.D. a Baduga King called Kalaraja was ruling Nilgiris. Vishnuvardana of Hoysala Kingdom of Karnataka was the first king to invade Nilgiris, sent his army and tried to threaten the Badugas and ordered to obey him. The Brave Baduga King, Kalaraja refused his order and fought with him. Three inscriptions refers to Kala's rule from his fort in Kukal Village. It testified that King Kala was ruling from 1116 AD and implied that his ancestors had been living here centuries earlier. King Kala was killed in a "Dhandu(war)", and Nilgiris came under Hoysala Kingdom. Later in 13th century, the Hoysala Kingdom was defeated by Vijayanagara Empire so Nilgiri came under Vijayanagara Empire. Later after fall of Vijayanagara it came under Sultans, After defeat of Sultans Nilgiris came under British rule [4]


Thundu (a white piece of cloth) forms an integral part of the attire of Badaga women and as a cultural item, is presented to visiting dignitaries as a gesture of good will.

Badugas marry within their community and follow their own tradition during the marriage session. Their important festival is Devva Habba.


Hethe and Heriyodaiya are the ancestor God of Badugas. They also worship other adopted Hindu deities. They celebrate "Hethai Habba", "Devva Habba" and the festival is held all over among the community.


Two examples of educated Badaga show the ability to reach official status in government office. Former Loksabha MP, the late Akkamma Devi was the first Badaga woman to graduate from college and represented the Nilgiri Loksabha constituency from 1962 to 1967.[5] Belli Lakshmi Ramakrishnan M.A., was the first Badaga woman post graduate in social work, and went on to be the first woman gazetted officer to serve in the Tamil Nadu State Government Department of Health and Family Welfare.[citation needed]

Constitutional recognition[edit]

There is a long-standing demand to restore the fluctuating status of the Badagas in the list of Scheduled Tribes under the Indian Constitution, which is yet to be considered by the Central Government.[6] Badugas were in the tribes list during the British period, as per the 1931 census. After Independence badugas were scheduled on the Tribe list during the 1951 census, but later removed with no reason given[citation needed].


  • J.W.Breeks (1873), An Account of the Primitive Tribes of the Nilgiris; Nilgiri Manual, vol. i. pp. 218–228; Madras Journ. of Sci. and Lit. vol. viii. pp. 103–105; Madras Museum Bulletin, vol. ii., no. i, pp. 1–7.
  • Hockings, P. (1988). Counsel from the ancients, a study of Badaga proverbs, prayers, omens and curses. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Hockings, P. (1989). "The cultural ecology of the Nilgiris District" In P. Hockings (Ed.), Blue Mountains: The ethnography and biogeography of a South Indian region (pp. 360–376). New Delhi and New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Hockings, P. (1999). Kindreds of the earth: Badaga household structure and demography. New Delhi and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Hockings, P. (2001). "Mortuary ritual of the Badagas of Southern India". (Fieldiana, Anthropology, n.s., 32.) Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History.
  • [7]
  1. ^
  2. ^ "About BADAGAS". Badagas of the Blue Mountains. 2015-11-28. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  3. ^ Radhakrishnan, D. (9 January 2012). "Festival of Badagas begins in the Nilgiris". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Staff (23 November 2012). "Former Congress MP Akkamma Devi passes away". The Hindu Business Line. The Hindu. Archived from the original on 8 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Special correspondent (30 July 2011). "Include Badagas in ST list: Jayalalithaa requests PM". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 28 August 2011. 
  7. ^