Friday, January 11, 2008

The Toda Mund

From Anthony Walker

The British representative of Coimbatore in the 1820’s, liked the cool climate of the highlands of Nilgiri Hills and bought land from the local inhabitants, often square kilometers of land for the price of a meal! In particular, he bought land from the Toda tribe for the princely sum of one rupee, and on this land was built Ootacamund, which is a popular hill station (in what is now Tamil Nadu) until today.

A Toda Village, from Anthony R. Walker

The Toda people have inhabited the highest parts of Nilgris mountains in Tamil Nadu for a very long time, co-existing with other communities in a loose caste-based relationship. They subsisted on cattle-herding and dairy farming,treating their buffaloes as sacred. The Todas numbered only 700 to 900 in the last century.

A Toda mund, 1869, Samuel Bourne, from Wikimedia

They live in settlements of 3 to 7 huts, or ‘munds’, barrelled-shaped A-frames 3m high 5.5 long 2.7m wide. Bamboo frames sticking out othe ground are lashed together with rattan and thatch with dried grass. At thefront and back are stones, usually, granite. The stones are decorated, with a tiny meter square entrnce to protect against wild animals.

Building a Toda Mund, from Wikimedia


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1 comment:

Kyle and Svet Keeton said...

Hey Mazlin,

These are cool homes. But I have a question. The stones at the front and back, are they for support and strength? Or are they cultural?

I just don't see the protection issue when the sides are wood and the front and back stone. I understand the door size. (I would probably not fit though) :)

What hold the stones in place? they seem to be tall and thin. Top heavy looking!

Great article, I will be back, I am looking for more round things to put in my round world.....

Kyle & Svet