Kota Temples and Priest. Kotagerry
Photographer: Unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of Kota temples and a priest at Kotagiri 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 XXII of James Wilkinson Breeks 'An Account of the Primitive Tribes and Monuments of the Nilgiris' (India Museum, London, 1873). 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 Kotas live in large communities, each village containing anywhere from 30 to 60 huts; of the Kotas, Breeks wrote: "Each Kotagiri has at least two temples...they are all in the shape of the one in Plate XXII. The priests are of their own tribe. There are two to a village, one called the Devadi, whose office is hereditary...The second is appointed by the Devadi. Neither lives in the temple; they cook food before it at the feast of Kamataraya, and distribute it to the householders, sow and reap the first handfuls of grain at the proper seasons, and make the first obeisance to the corpse at a funeral." Kotagiri literally means 'Kota hill' and is the Badaga name for a Kota village; the Kota name being a Kokal.