Kotas Playing and Dancing
Photographer: Unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a group of Kota men in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, taken by an unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts in 1871-72. This photograph forms Plate XVIII 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. Of the Kotas, Breeks wrote, "The chief Kota festival...is the annual feast of Kamataraya, called Kambata or Kamata. This lasts for about a fortnight...The tenth day is passed in dancing; the Kotas dress up for the occasion, wearing the long robes shown in XVIII; and borrowing jewels of all sorts from the Badagas, who are obliged to propitiate their artisans by attending and contributing on this occasion."