Shevaroyen, from Yercaud
Photographer: Nicholas and Company
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph taken by Nicholas and Company in the 1870s, of the Lake in the Shevaroy Hills of the Eastern Ghats near Salem in Tamil Nadu. Now a busy tourist resort, in the 19th century the little town of Yercaud was established near the Lake as a hill-station for the British. At 5000 ft, the climate was salubrious, and it became famous for its schools for European children, and silver-oak shaded coffee estates surrounding the imposing bungalows of the plantation owners. The Shevaroy hills are rich in minerals such as bauxite. Before the British 'discovered' the hills in the early 19th century, the original settlers were the hill tribes known as Malayalis. The highest peak has a natural cave which is used as a temple in which the deities Servarayan and Kaveri are worshipped (perhaps rooted in ancient tribal gods), and which attracts huge numbers of devotees for its annual festival in May.