CTRD Trust

The Adivasis in the Nilgiris

The Adivasis are the original inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent, who have been living in various regions for centuries. One of these regions is the Nilgiris, a mountain range in southern India, which is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Nilgiris is home to six primitive tribal groups, who all have a low population and are distinguished by their own language, religion, art and way of life. These groups are the Paniyars, Kurumbars, Katy Nayakka, Kotta, Irulars,, Todas. .The Adivasis in the Nilgiris have a close relationship with nature and live in harmony with their environment. They use the resources of the land and the forests sustainably and respectfully. 


Their Tradition & Culture

share common characteristics in their deep connection to nature, traditional ways of life, and distinct languages or dialects. Their cultural practices often revolve around animism, respect for their natural surroundings, and unique customs related to marriage, inheritance, and rituals. While each Adivasi group retains its specific traditions and beliefs, a shared appreciation for their tribal identity and an enduring connection to their ancestral lands unite them in a tapestry of indigenous culture in India.

Problems for the adivasi

Despite their rich cultural heritage, Adivasi communities across India face a range of challenges. Many struggle with socio-economic disparities, limited access to education, healthcare, and basic amenities. Issues related to land rights and displacement due to developmental projects are common concerns. Additionally, economic marginalization and limited opportunities for sustainable livelihoods can perpetuate poverty within these communities.

Their Future

They demand recognition of their identity as indigenous peoples and implementation of the Forest Rights Act of 2006, which guarantees them the right to their land and resources. They also try to preserve and promote their culture by keeping their language, art and traditions alive. They organize themselves in various groups or forums to articulate their concerns and act collectively. CTRD Trust works to promote and strengthen the livelihood, welfare and development of the Adivasi people. The Adivasis in the Nilgiris are a diverse and dynamic community that has made an important contribution to India’s history and culture. They deserve respect, protection and support for their way of life and aspirations. They are the guardians of the Nilgiris, one of the most beautiful and valuable ecosystems in the world.