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14th August 2023 (11 Topics)

Yelagiri hut

Context

Over 200 Malaiyali tribespeople once inhabited traditional clay huts atop Yelagiri hill in northern Tamil Nadu, now replaced by modern homes except for one ancient hut, symbolizing their transition from foraging to modern living.

About Yelagiri hut

  • The hut is formed of red clay on a teak wood structure.
  • Made of dry bamboo leaves, the thatched roof is waxed with cow dung to prevent it from leaking during the monsoon season. 
  • Weatherproofed: A unique feature of the munn veedu(mud house) or andara kotai (storage facility) is that it stands on a stilt-like structure also made of teak wood.
    • This holds the house two feet above the ground to keep rodents at bay and to prevent the house from flooding during torrential rains

About Malaiyali tribe

  • The Malaiyali tribe – malai meaning “hill” and yali meaning “people” – is strewn across Tamil Nadu’s hilly regions.
  • The tribespeople were foragers who settled in the upper Nillavur region of Yelagiri and began cultivating its tabletop peak for food.
  • Initially living in makeshift huts, they found a permanent solution in the red loam clay abundant in the hills and constructed simple one-room structures that measured 16 by 22 feet.

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