Boa [temple]. Muttanad Mand
Photographer: Unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Boa (temple) at Muttanad Mund (village) in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, taken by an unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts in c. 1871-72. This photograph forms Plate XIII of James Wilkinson Breeks 'An Account of the Primitive Tribes and Monuments of the Nilgiris' (India Museum, London, 1873). Breeks was the Commissioner of the Nilgiris and wished to make a record of the indigenous hill-tribes of the region before their way of life, customs and legends died out due to increasing western influences. The Todas live in communities in the Nilgiri Hills and their livelihood revolves around the local grasslands called 'sholas' and the herds of buffalo which they tend there. They have a rich tradition of crafts and are famous for their jewellery and elegantly draped cloaks and shawls that are decorated with traditional black and red embroidery. Breeks noted two types of Toda temple: Boas and Palthchis. He wrote, "...a Boa [is] a conical roofed temple surrounded by a low wall (Plate XIII). This one is called Manboa; at Muttanad Mand, about 4 miles from Ootacamund on the left of the Seghur road...Both Boas and Palthchis are used as dairies, the only difference apparently being that the priests may live in the latter, and not in the former."