Syllabus: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
In the hamlet for about 200 years, this last old-fashioned hut of the tribe is owned and maintained by Govinthasamy, a tribesman and former member of the Yelagiri panchayat. The rest have given way to concrete houses over the decades.
A single antiquated hut
- More than two centuries ago, over 200 Malaiyali tribespeople built traditional clay huts on the flat peak of the picturesque Yelagiri hill in what is now northern Tamil Nadu
- Establishing an all-encompassing system for shelter, storage, farming, and cattle rearing.
- All that remains of that settlement today is a single antiquated hut, juxtaposed with new concrete houses, a standing testament to the tribe’s evolution from foraging to a more modern lifestyle.
The Malaiyali tribe
- Malai meaning “hill” and yali meaning “people” — is spread across Tamil Nadu’s hilly regions.
- The tribespeople were foragers who settled in the upper Nillavur region of Yelagiri and began cultivating its tabletop peak for food.
- Initially living in makeshift huts, they found a permanent solution in the red loam clay abundant in the hills and constructed simple one-room structures that measured 16 by 22 feet.
- Red clay is very important to us.
- We used it to build huts to live in and we also buried the dead in it. From birth to death, it comes full circle
- With a four-foot-tall entrance, his house was formed by placing red clay on a frame of beams and posts built using teakwood. “A log costs ₹1 lakh today.
- The hut might look worn but it is worth a fortune