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Kothas

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» South India
» Tamil Nadu
Location: Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu
Present Population: Around 2500
Language: Old And Rude Dialect Of Kanarese
Biggest Festival: Kamatrya Feast

Following closely upon the Todas, and long before the advent of the Badagas, the Kothas settled in the Nilgiris. There are only 7 Kotha villages. Each Kotha village consists of a few thatched huts and sometimes, a row of huts and each hut is divided into living and sleeping apartments. The Kotha village is called "Keris".

The size of the Kotha population is almost the same as that of the Todas. The Kothas should be properly called "Kovs" and they presently number around 2,500.

Origin
Their origin is unknown. They themselves say that they once lived in a mountain in Mysore, called Kollimala, after which they named the first village (near Ketti village) they built in the Nilgiris.

Culture & Festivities
The language spoken by the Kothas is very old and a rude dialect of Kanarese. Curiously enough, they and the Todas understand one another, each conversing in their own language. The ideally located Kotha villages at the center of Toda and Badaga spheres of mobility in the Nilgiris testify to the erstwhile importance of Kotha services to others.

Kothas, in general, love liquor. They are excellent artisans whose services as blacksmiths, goldsmiths, silversmiths, carpenters and potters were indispensable to the other hill tribes. As musicians, the Kothas played music at Badaga funerals, festivals and other ceremonial occasions. At present, the Kothas are essentially farmers.

The recognized place of worship of the Kothas in each village consists of a large square, walled round with loose stones three feet high and containing in its center two pent-shaped sheds. Open in front and rear and on the posts (of stone) that support them some crude circles and other figures are drawn. They don't worship images of any sort. The biggest Kotha festival is the annual Kamatrya feast that lasts for 12 days.

So far as social, economical and educational advancement is concerned, the Kothas stand next only to the Badagas among the tribes of the Nilgiris.



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