Lifestyle of Ooty
Ooty welcomes travelers from across the globe and are known for their warmth and extremely hospitable nature. The residents add to the charm of this vibrant and lively hill station that exhibits a blend of an old world charm and modern expressions that defines the lifestyle of the Tribes, locals and dwellers of this region.
Ooty is mainly inhabited by the Toda Tribes that co-existed with other Tribal communities such as the Bagadas, Kurumbas, Paniyas and Irulas who settled here even before the British arrived in India. Hence, Ooty exhibits a mix of traditional tribal lifestyle and a modern-day lifestyle owing to settlement of other locals from Tamil Nadu, Mysore and Kerala thus bringing with them a rich background of cultural and traditional attributes that adds to the lifestyle of Ooty.
Though the Tribal community thrives on cattle rearing and agriculture, today, most of the Todas are working in government services and the Bagadas have also advanced through the introduction of new methods for improving their agricultural produce thus making them more socially, culturally and economically advanced and thereafter bringing a positive change to their lifestyle and way of living.
Since most of the people in Ooty are very religious, they tend to lead a very traditional lifestyle. Their beliefs and warm nature makes Ooty an attractive Hill station that marks it as one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.
The Todas are the most noteworthy Tribes amongst all of the existing tribal community. They are fair skinned, tall with curly hair and lead a very conservative lifestyle. They are avid vegetarians and strictly converse in the Toda language, their local dialect, considered to be a part of the Dravidian group of languages that has no script and hence is mainly guided and carried forward through verbal and aural succession.
The Toda community follows a typical tribal way of life that showcases a vibrant and distinct lifestyle different from other communities owing to their mannerism, appearance and customs such as the fraternal polyandry tradition which is now prohibited by the Government of India and hence has been abandoned.
The Lifestyle of the Todas of Ooty also revolves around their distinct religious, social ceremonies and festivals that are celebrated and accompanied with traditional songs and folk dances with the utmost respect given to the Elders who are treated will special care especially during these celebrations. Their handicrafts and shawls are very popular and are mostly sold out to all the tourists who take them back home as souvenirs.
The Tribal communities of Ooty were known to be depleted of any integration with any outside work and hence the forced interaction with civilization caused a sudden but positive change in their lifestyle. From primarily being pastoral people, they advanced to being more aware of the benefits of modern methods hence ventured into agriculture and other government occupations and private businesses. From being strict vegetarians, the Todas are seen to relish eating non-vegetarian food too. Most of the Toda community have abandoned their traditional and distinctive huts and are residing in houses built of concrete.
Despite the change in the lifestyle of the Tribal communities, the Tamil Nadu government still retains their traditional barrel-vaulted huts and numerous Toda sacred dairies that have been renovated for the benefit of Tourism and to offer an insight to visitors and tourist as well as educating them on the ancient ways of life, culture, tradition and lifestyle of the indigenous people of Ooty.