Photographer: Unknown photographer from the Madras School of Arts
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of Kurumba Kovil 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 XXVII 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 Kurumbas it has been said: "They worship also a rough round stone under the name of Hiriadeva, setting it up either in a cave or circle of stones, like the so-called "Kurumba Kovil" of the Badagas (Plate XXVII) which the latter would seem to have borrowed from the Kurumbas...Each Badaga Grama, with its group of villages, keeps a Kurumba priest called Kani Kurumba...who performs annual ceremonies for the Badagas at seed and harvest time..."