We have been going to Ooty for relaxation since god knows how long but how much do we know about the original tribes who have made it what it is? The Toda Tribe, the indigenous people of Nilgiris have been around since 3rd century BC. While they used to be one of the high ranking tribes of the area occupying valleys and forest lands, today they have been pushed to near extinction. The only surviving relic is the Toda Village.
Toda Village is approximately 3 km from Upper Bazaar. The best way to experience it is to walk through the roads and you will come across deep pine forests and vast open valleys. These valleys once had originally belonged to the Toda tribe for their buffaloes. As you keep walking, you will reach a small hamlet which is now mostly filled with pukka houses. Ask them and they will guide you up to the valley of sacred Toda Temples. These so-called temples were once homes to their people but are now just sacred places. The temples are huts which have a beehive shape and are made out of Nilgiris shrubs. The most interesting part? The huts are placed a little below the ground and the area around it is dug!
It is a must-visit for an architectural or a cultural lover! You can even walk around the valley or enter the space in the woods to get a view of the forest. The modern Todas have settled around the Toda Village. When you go there, don't forget to meet Pengalyama Kandalmand Pingerpost, an old lady and one of the last surviving original Todas. She will tell you stories of her days. She even dressed us up with her handmade Toda embroidered shawl and treated us hospitably! These are original garments worn by the tribe back in the day. The hidden beauty of the people and their history is what makes the whole experience truly enlightening.