into Manjampatti Valley during 1971-73
View southwest toward fields of Manjampatti village
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This page began as a vicarious exercise for my own edification and may now be a stimulus for others' recollections. Manjampatti Valley is a beautiful primal area that I was fortunate to enjoy on several occasions. This may help others to appreciate and enjoy it. I'd like to go back there.
Manjampatti Valley is on the Western edge of the Palni Hills bordering the Anaimalai Hills in the Western Ghats separating Kerala and Tamilnadu (map) states in South India, about 15 miles West of Kodaikanal and on the border of Dindigul (map) and Coimbature Districts. Vattavadai Valley is immediately south on the kerala side of the border. The area is classified as a Montane Rain Forest Ecoregion. Elevation ranges from 7,631 ft Vellari Mali at the top, to 2,000 ft. at the first little village of Talinji at the bottom. The stream Ten Ar drains the valley and flows into the Chinnar River at the Kerala/Tamil Nadu border. In Tamil Nadu that river is renamed the Amaravetti River, flows through the Amaravetti Reservoir, past Dharapuram and eventually merges with the Cauvery River east of Karur. Total catchment area of the valley is about 110 sq km. Central location is 77°17' E, 10°17' N.
Manjampatti Valley is a core area of the Indira Ghandi (formerly Anaimalai) Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park (2), (3) at the southeast end of the park. It is just north west of the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (2) in Kerala. Both of these Parks are part of the Niligiri Biosphere Reserve. These parks also are part of the Anaimalai Conservation Area, a joint project of The Wildlife Institute of India and the U.S. Dept of Agriculture (!warning! large file p. 34 fig 3.2.).
Manjampatti Valley is adjacent at its east end to the Kodaikanal Wildlife Sanctuary now being established and will be included within the planned Palani Hills National Park.
Manjampatti Valley is included within the southwestern end of the Upper Palani Shola Reserved Forest and the western end of the Kodaikanal Reserve Forest. It is south of the Dindigul Reserve Forest. It is under the protection of the Tamilnadu Forest Dept., The Wildlife Warden, Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary & National Park, 176, Meenkarai Road, Pollachi, Coimbatore 642001, Tamil Nadu. Tel. (04259) 25356, to whom hikers should apply for an overnight camping permit.
I went there three times, sometimes with my brother Paul (Kodaikanal International School '73), Tim Heineman ('67), Eugene (Mank) Lutz ('69), our friend Kathy Paul and others. I was guided the first time by Tim's and Mank's recollections of past hikes and later by a detailed topographical map borrowed from Tim's Dad, Rev. Charles Heineman.
Back in those days this was considered a dangerous trip, prohibited for unescorted students and some staff advised us against it. I watched my step and always carried a snake bite kit (razor blade) because I had two close encounters with Cobras (probably Spectacled) on an earlier hike to Bear Shola.
Kodai School later conducted some annual high school class camps in Manjampatti Valley (41) for experienced hikers. Class camps are now held near Manjampatti Valley at the Pundi camp site which includes a large pavilion, bathrooms, water system, kitchen, and storage buildings. Hiking, animal tracking, swimming, climbing wall and outdoor cooking are some activities of these class weekends. The annual Tahr Camp of the Kodaikanal High School hiking program has often camped in Manjampatti Valley. In recent years, the Forestry Dept. has denied permission for them to camp there. They will camp near Rattail falls instead. (more)
Rock cliff face at upper edge of eastern Kumboor River Valley, taken from near top of cliff trail.
We began our trips to Manjampatti Valley in the early 1970's from Kodiakanal for a tedious 18 mile, 2 hour local bus ride to the village of Mannavanur, pop. 5,927 , at the end of the road (story). We stayed overnight on one trip at a Mannavanur guest house. We then hiked northerly over a seldom used rocky path about four hours beyond Mannavanur, along a barren hill crest with a tiny Hindu temple, through some dense jungle (shola) and across a small stream. We picked up some leaches along the way that we later discovered on our skin. We then picked our way through some thick brush before finally descending to the waterfalls and caves at the head of a valley looking down to the Northwest..
We settled into one of the larger caves where we cooked and slept. There were wide waterfalls nearby with small caves behind them that were lots of fun to go into. Walking in the small stream in the valley was the best way to travel down and up the valley because of dense brush, rough terrain and lack of trails away from the stream. We often wore only a loin cloth, to better see leeches on our skin and quickly remove them, avoid snagging clothes and keep our clothes dry. It was a beautiful and enchanting virgin semi-tropical forest with wild mango trees, wild Indian Elephants and Wild Boar. We saw some Boar, but only trails, excrement and resting places of the Elephants. The area is well known for White Bison but we saw none. The Mangos were small and bitter. Until recently wild Tigers had lived there, but I was told the last of them was shot by the then headmaster of Kodai School, Steven Root. However 2 tigers, a male and a female, were sighted and recorded in the 2007 wildlife census.
On one trip we encountered a family of primitive tribal people living in a cave lower down the valley. While exploring the North slope of the valley one day, we noticed a small open cave facing the sun and saw a woman with an infant just inside. We assumed her husband was out working in the forest nearby. She invited us by hand signals to sit with her around the remnants of a small cooking fire on the ground. The only signs of "civilization" we saw were a tattered and dirty piece of sari she wore wrapped around her and a small aluminum pot farther back in the cave. We tried to speak with her but she understood no Tamil and spoke a language we could not recognize, perhaps Paliyan?
Kumboor River below Mungal Pallam
Were they descendants of the ancient Paliyan tribes? Paliyan/2, new Paliyan/3 book, more paliyan/4 books by Peter M. Gardener.
In January 2008, Clarence Maloney (Kodai '52, see his MS Word 2007 report below), and I hiked with Forest Dept. staff from Chinnar Rd. up through Talinji village to Manjampatti village for 2 day stay, then a local guide and I went up on a grueling 8 hr, 8 km horizontal, 2,000 meter vertical hike on the cliff trail in Kumboor Valley through Mungal Pallam hamlet to Kumboor village below Mannavanur. It was awesome! Have you been there?
I was overwhelmed at seeing the huge size of the whole valley (about 110 sq.km.), a fact that escaped me on our earlier hikes just a little down the rim behind Mannavanur on a different trail. Back then we weren't even aware of villages there.
Several photographs I took in and near Manjampatti Valley between January 25-29, 2008 may be seen here: 84 Manjampatti Photos
20 m. Ananthoni Falls Between Talinji and Manjampatti villages on the Ten Ar River, Manjampatti Valley. 10 deg 17.57' N 77 deg 16.07' E
-The following report on Manjampatti Valley from Clarence Maloney (Kodai '52) is copied for the benefit of non members of that group from his original post on KodaiTalkease · a Discussion forum for Kodai friends, .
Manjampatti Valley in the Palani Hills of South India: Its People and Environment
Clarence Maloney, 2 February, 2008
The following was gathered January 24-27, 2008, while on a hike with Marcus Sherman (long-time contributor to Wikipedia regarding South Indian forest and wildlife reserves). He had obtained permission to visit even in the core reserve forest area. This was a unique chance to visit the area and settlements, largely out of bounds to casual visitors.
The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park extends along most of the northern slopes of the Palani
(actually, Pazhani- see the important footnote on transliteration) Hills, which extend eastward into Tamil Nadu from the Western Ghats mountains.
Manalaar stream near Manjampatti Village
The Manjampatti Valley, 110 km sq, forms the northwestern end of this Sanctuary, and adjoins the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala. The valley extends from the Amaravathi dam at the bottom to the Upper Palani range, over 2000 m high and rising to peaks over 2500 m along the boundary between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The eastern side of the valley extends up to Kumboor, where the road around the upper Palani Hills connects with Poondi and Keelaanavayil (“lower field”) mountain villages on one side, and Mannavanur (“king’s town”) on the other. From Manjampatti (“haze/mist village”) another branch which has spectacular almost perpendicular mountains on both sides, goes up toward the Kerala highlands. The Manalaar (“sand river”) which in upper reaches forms the boundary between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, flows there and is partly diverted by the people of Manjampatti for irrigating on the hillsides, before it joins the Theinaar river. Coming from the plains, one can drive south from Udumalaippettai (“between-mountains-town”), taking the road toward the Amaravathi dam, and this continues to Moonaar
River Ten Ar below Manjampatti Village
(“three rivers”) in the Kerala highlands, with frequent bus service. About 17 km from Amaravathi Dam this road crosses the state border, and there are Tamil Nadu and Kerala check posts. The Chinnar (“small river”) flows down from the Kerala side and becomes the Amaravathi River in Tamil Nadu. From the check posts on the road, a path largely follows the Theinaar (“honey river”), angling eastward to Thalinji and Manjampatti villages, and there are several spectacular falls including one about 20 m high. Near Manjampatti the Kumbaar stream from the east flows into the Theinaar.
The 3 main villages along this route are Thalinji at 550 m with about 150 houses, Manjampatti at about 700 m with about 100 houses, and the hamlet of Mungilpallam (“bamboo hollow”) at about 800 m. From there a steep zig-zag path leads to Kumboor village on the road,
Mungilpallam hamlet (in center) on eastern Kumbar River Valley, taken from the cliff trail.
from where it is 3 km to Mannavanur which has bus service to Kodaikanal. Alternatively, one can walk up to Keelaanavayil and Powloor on the road-- a hike ascending nearly 1300 m.
Palani Hills National Park (Proposed)
The Forest Department has a mandate to expand forest and wildlife reserves if possible, so it has begun to consolidate areas along the upper Palani Hills from the vicinity of Kodaikanal to Top Station at the Kerala boarder. The British constructed a dirt road from Kodaikanal via Berijam Lake to Top Station and Moonaar during World War II as an emergency exit from Kodaikanal, which has been used by many tourists visiting Berijam and by students and campers, but since the mid-1990s the road beyond Berijam has been blocked and has become unusable. The long-range intent is to consolidate this area into the proposed Palani Hills National Park, covering 736.87 sq km, including the Kodaikanal Wildlife Sanctuary. The Government of Tamil Nadu proposed this in 1999 but it is not yet finalized. This Sanctuary would border parts of the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Chinnaar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala.
An alternative jeep road from Kodaikanal via Poondi to Kerala is slowly being constructed along the crest of the Manjampatti Valley toward Top Station at the Kerala boarder, but it is still only jeepable.
Main Villages in the Manjampatti Valley
Ancient temple carvings near Talinji Village
Thalinji is an isolated village of about 150 houses, mostly mud with corrugated iron roofs. All the people are Pulaiyar jaathi (caste). This place must have had some importance in medieval times, as there are mounds with ruins of an ancient large temple with a substantial temple tank, and numerous stone carvings of goddesses such as Maariamman and Kondaiamman, and gods Ganesan, and Krishna, with some medieval-looking inscriptions, but that history has been lost. As this village was here long ago, when the British created the reserved forest they allocated 200 acres to it for cultivation. This was divided up among families by stone boundary markers, which still exist, but land titles were not given.
Thalinji people cultivate only rice (monsoon crop) and butter beans-- no other vegetables or crops, though they get some green leaves and herbs from the forests, and keep a few cows, buffaloes, goats, and chickens. They are allowed to collect minor forest products for their own use, but not to sell. There is a one-room Anti-Poaching Camp used by forestry staff on their rounds, but it has almost no supplies. There is a school with a teacher posted, and a doctor is supposed to come every week but he doesn’t even come once a month. Men may go out to work in sugarcane fields on the plains, and women go to Manjampatti to work in the fields there.
All huts have photovoltaic lighting at Talinji Village
Every house has a solar light, given by the Collector’s Fund, and these are working.From the same fund a solar-powered pump and water pipe system was installed to bring water from the nearby Theinaar, but the system has been broken for a long time. Also, the village was provided with a cowdung digester to produce cooking gas, but as the people didn’t put in more dung it soon stopped working-- the idea was to reduce collection of forest firewood, but the people evidently found it easier to collect that than to collect cowdung. The Forest Development Agency tries to get their cooperation to protect the forest, reduce their number of cows and goats, and gather to extinguish any forest fires, and it also makes loans available to them. Thalinji has no shop or tea shop, and people do not integrate much in the modern society and economy. The village is a Ward under the Maanupatti Panchayat at the bus stop near the Amaraavathi dam, but the people have not bothered to elect a representative, though advised to do so by the Forester. They just rely on the Forest Department for many kinds of assistance and advice.
Manjampatti village is elongated following the river and irrigation channel.
House and fields of Manjampatti village
It is ethnically more diverse including some plains peoples. It was also given land for cultivation when the reserved forest was created, and the families have kept their respective fields marked with stone boundaries. Earlier they used to practice shifting cultivation, growing millets such as keippai (raagi), thinai, and kambu, but later the Forest Department forbade this and restricted cultivation to the allotted lands. Here also the crops now are rice in rainy season and butter beans otherwise, though with more diversity of population a few vegetables such as eggplant and tomatoes are grown. There is an elementary school of a type designed for tribal people. The village has a little “general store” selling items for cooking, and two tea shops. There is an Anti-Poaching Camp of the Forest Department, which has 4 staff posted there.
The village has a Moopan (headman), assisted by a group of elder men (no women), who organizes activities such as maintaining the irrigation channels and resolving disputes, but this is not recognized in the Panchayat system. The Moopan can be of any jaathi, and serves as long as he has the confidence of the people. Manjampatti comes under the Mannavanoor Panchayat and sends its Ward Member up to the monthly meetings, but the people claim to have gotten no benefit from the Panchayat, and prefer to rely on the Forest Department. If someone commits a crime such as theft, the Moopan will turn the suspect over to the Forest Department, which will arrange for him to be detained by police on the plains. As Manjampatti falls under Kodaikanal Taluk office, the people must travel far to Kodaikanal for official services such as getting a ration card, but the ration items (rice, sugar, kerosene) are sent to agent on the Amaravaathi-Moonaar Road where the people go to collect them.
The third village going up the valley is Mungilpallam, as mentioned, a hamlet of just 20 houses of Pulaiyar, on the Kumbaar stream, having a similar economy. It is widely rumored that marijuana (ganjaa) is grown in this valley and sold in Kodaikanal and elsewhere.
While we were there, a team of 15 persons including the District Superintendent of Police and various forest officers, came via Mannavanoor down to both branches at the top of the Manjampatti Valley looking for marijuana, which they would destroy. The forest staff we were with said indeed none is grown, and the officers would not and did not find any!
The Ethnic Groups (beginning with the earliest)
Palaiyar (Pazhaiyar, “old ones”): These claim to be the original inhabitants of the Palani (Pazhani) Hills, and are officially classified as a Scheduled Tribe. They are do not live in the Manjampatti Valley (some were recorded here in the 2001 census, but according to Forest Department staff these are not Palaiyar, but Pulaiyar who have recorded themselves as Palaiyar to get benefits given to Scheduled Tribes). Palaiyar live in the more eastern Palani Hills, especially in settlements at middle altitudes where there is abundant vegetation such as around Kukkaal, and in Vellaikevi (“white cave”), Chinnoor (“little village”), and Periyoor (“large village”) villages on the south slope. They traditionally lived by hunting and foraging, also gathering minor forest products (honey, bamboo seed, ayurvedic medical items, fibers, gum, fruits, bamboo, firewood, and wood). They ate foods considered unusual, which they could find, and sometimes lived for many days on valli kilangu, a kind of “yam” which the wild boar also dig for. Earlier they would sometimes cultivate crops such as millets, bananas, or castor beans. Nowadays they also do some work as laborers outside, as in the coffee plantations at Kombukkaadu and Thaandikudi (accessible from the Kodaikanal Ghat Road). There are still be some Palaiyar who do considerable hunting and gathering and maybe a few who largely live by it, but they are not allowed to practice shifting cultivation or to extract forest products except for their own use.
The Palaiyar have been written about (with wrong spelling as Paliyan) by several scholars, such as Peter Gardner, an anthropologist from the University of Missouri who studied them extensively from the 1960s and wrote a book and several articles on them. Other writings on them are by Christer Norstrom, an anthropologist from the University of Stockholm. Their kinship system, peaceable nature, and ability to live in two cultural worlds, has been of interest as regards anthropological theory.
Muthuvar (“first ones”): This is a Schedule Tribe, also claiming to be original inhabitants, but mainly on the Kerala side of these hills. About 15 families of them live in Manjampatti village where they do cultivation and labor work. They celebrate Pongal and other Tamil festivals. They speak another “language” which is a Dravidian one similar to Tamil and Malayalam but with different verb endings, and now the Muthuvar mix this considerably with both other languages. To determine whether it is actually a different “language” or only a dialect of Tamil or Malayalam would require linguistic analysis. There is another forest jaathi in the nearby Kerala hills, the Iravaalar, who traditionally lived by extraction of minor forest products and fishing, of whom it is said that they also have their own “language”, but they are not in the Manjampatti Valley.
Malaimarasar: This is also a Scheduled Tribe, living at the foot of the northern side of the Palani Hills, where they do agriculture and coolie work on the plains. Some also live in the hamlet of Talinji-vayil-pakuthi (“Talinji-field- area”) in the lower valley. They also claim to be earliest inhabitants, and are said to have another “language,” a Dravidian one, but whether it also is a real language or just a dialect of Tamil or Malayalam would require linguistic analysis.
Pulaiyar: They are officially classified as a Scheduled Caste (not to be confused with the Palaiyar, a Schedule Tribe). They claim to be the original cultivating people of the valley. All the inhabitants of Thalinji are Pulaiyar; they were the majority inhabitants of Manjampatti when the British gave that village land for cultivation in the middle of the reserved forest, and they are also the people of Mungilpallam.
Theivar: This is a widespread plains agricultural jaathi, but some of them came to live in Manjampatti long ago and engage in agriculture on the village lands. There are also a few houses of other plains jaathis such as Chakkliyar (originally leather-workers). Because of these jaathis, Manjampatti village has some features of plains Tamil villages such as eating of newer types of vegetables and having tea shops.
Mannadiyar (“king’s subjects”): This is an important jaathi of many of the large villages in the Palani hills, who were evidently assigned lands to cultivate there by decree of the Madurai king a few centuries ago. They are not in the Manjampatti valley, but are a traditionally numerous jaathi in the villages at the head of the valley such as Kilaanavayil, Poondi, Kavunji, Kumboor, and Mannavanoor.
Saraliupatti watchtower/trekking shed 1/2 km east of Chinnar road through IGWS&NP/Manjampatti Valley
Near the Chinnaar (“small river”) checkpost on the Moonaar Road at the Tamil Nadu border is the Saraliupatti watchtower, where one can stay overnight in a small bare tower room and wait to see animals. A permit is required from the Tamil Nadu forest office in Pollachi. There is a similar and higher watchtower nearby on the Kerala side, for which a permit can be had from the Kerala checkpost just on the road. Tourists seldom visit these watchtowers, but there is good chance of seeing elephants and other wildlife from them.
Elephant (yaanai): These roam over the whole valley, up to Top Station above Moonaar, and along the whole northern lower slopes of the Palani Hills, in the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and into the areas above Palani town. On our visit we saw evidence of them in many places, and also heard them. A question is whether the present generation of elephants used in temples, the logging industry, and tourism, will be the last, or whether the Forest Department will allow continued capture and training of elephants. Now the number of elephants has increased to more than optimum for the area, and they often intrude into sugarcane, banana, and rice fields on the plains. Farmers try to scare them off with fire and noise. So the Tamil Nadu Forest Department still allows capture and training of elephants at two locations, one near Top Station and the other near the plains.
Tiger (puli): In colonial times officers and Englishmen considered it valorous to hunt tigers, and even in the 1950s the Raja of Puthukkottai would go out from his house in Kodaikanal and hunt them. By the 1980s it was said that that there were only 5 tigers left in the Palani Hills area. Today there are probably none, except in the Manjampatti Valley where 2 tigers, a male and a female, were sighted and recorded in the 2007 wildlife census. They are not exactly alone, because not far away in the Kerala hills, around Vaalpaarai, there are more tigers, and foresters say one is sighted every month or so.
Panther (sirutthai): These still roam over the Palani Hills, and the latest Forest Department census conducted from its Coimbatore office estimated 10 to 20 of them living in the Manjampatti Valley.
Black Bear (karadi): These also used to roam over all the Palani Hills, including Bear Sholai in Kodai and around the Ghat Road. They are not much seen in those places now, but they are sighted every year in the upper forests of Manjampatti Valley and around Top Station.
Nilagiri Thar (varaiaadu): These live especially on the spectacular high rocky peaks around the Valley, as Mudimalai, Jambumalai, and Attumalai, and above Moonaar, though they may also be seen in the valley forests. Though they are of the deer family, they are referred to in Tamil as a type of aadu (goat) because of the shape of their horns,
Gaur (popularly called bison) (kaattu erumai, “forest buffalo”): These were limited to a few valleys in the Palani Hills a few decades ago, but now because of protection may be seen all over, even in and around Kodaikanal town. There are several herds in the Manjampatti Valley.
Wild boar (kaattu panri): These still live all over the Palani Hills and in the Manjampatti Valley, where one can frequently see the holes in the ground where they have dug for edible roots
Squirrels: The Manjampatti Valley has the Malai-anil (“mountain squirrel”), which -is a large one, and the Saambalnira anil (“ash-colored squirrel”)
There are wild peacocks, jungle fowl, and many other species enumerated in the Wildlife Census in the Coimbatore Forest Department office.
Ancient Dolmen Burials
Dolmens, consisting of a stone floor slab 3 to 5 feet long, 3 stone walls about 2 feet high, and a “roof” stone slab, are found on at least 2 stony hilltops on the edges of the valley, and are similar to the many hundreds of dolmens found all over the Palani Hills. The people of Manjampatti do not know that they are burials and have no good explanation for them, calling them peiraveedu or araiaanveedu and thinking of them as “ghost houses”, sometimes performing puja worship in or near them. Some people we met were interested to hear from us that these were Iron Age burials, and under the floor slabs are fragments of human bones, black-and-red pottery typical of the South Indian Iron Age, and occasional iron fragments. There are other types of Iron Age stone burial structures in South India, such as topikkal (“hat-stones”) in Kerala, and stone circles. European archeologists have traced such stone burial structures through many countries back to Europe, where they occurred much earlier than in India. Here they date from roughly 800 BC to 300 AD.
Talinji Temple ruins
This indicates that while Madurai city flourished and produced the great Tamil literature of the Sangam period (3rd BC to 2nd AD), some peoples having relic cultures populated and cultivated in these hills. The existence of the unexpectedly large temple ruins in the isolated village of Thalinji, and the later assignment of land by Madurai Nayak kings to cultivators in the upper Palanis, indicate that there has been continuous interaction from prehistoric times to the present between plains people and the ethnic groups in these hills, while some groups relying on hunting and gathering have partially retained their pre-civilizational lifestyle up to the last century.
 See his article http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/Manjampatti
 Permission was given by the Chief Conservator of Forests, Chennai, and the Chief Wildlife Warden, Pollachi. A forest Guard or Watcher accompanied us everywhere.
 Detailed information was provided us by R G Sekar, Forester; T K Subramaniam, Forest Guard; B Nagarajan, Forest Watcher; V Ganesan, Forest Watcher; S Rajan, Headman of Thalinji village, Gopal, Headman of Manjampatti, Appunan, a Muthuvan, and many other villagers.
 It is preferable to transliterate Indic languages using the standard system of diacritical marks (macrons over long vowels, dots under retroflex consonants) as in academic works. But as those fonts are not widely available, to help readers respect the language and people by using approximately correct pronunciation I am giving Tamil words transliterated as accurately as possible. For some words, after showing the pronunciation once, I continue using the conventional English spelling.
· Names of ethnic groups are given ending in –ar, the plural, and not ending in –an which denotes one person, i.e., Pulaiyar versus Pulaiyan.
· I use th instead of t for the dental consonant (which is not the aspirated th of North Indian languages).
· Tamil palatal l, retroflex l, and unique l (officially transliterated as zh, rather like the American r), are to be distinguished. But I continue spelling Palani and Palaiyar with l instead of zh, for convenience of readers.
· Doubling of consonants always signifies that they are pronounced as stopped consonants.
· Tamil has 12 vowels, transliterated here as follows:
Short as in Long as in
a America aa ma
i bit ee beet
u put oo spoon
e end ei eight
o ox ow own
Also, ai is very short as in Kodai (not the Hindi aai), while au is a dipthong
 The l here is zh-- keezh means “lower”
 Manalaar and Moonaar (conventionally spelled Munnar) are pronounced with retroflex n
 Pallam is pronounced with double retroflex l
 See the article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palani_Hills_National_Park by Marcus Sherman
 Transliteration: panchaayath
 Anthropological writings refer to them as Paliyan, which is wrong spelling; even if we accept customary writing of l instead of zh, the second vowel is the short Tamil ai and should be written as such. And we should accept the Tamil name for the group ending in the plural –ar instead of the singular –an.
 Valli is pronounced with retroflex l, kilangu l is actually zh
 Peter Gardner, Bicultural Versatility as a Frontier Adaptation among Paliyan Foragers of South India. Edwin Mellen Press, 2000. He came to Kodaikanal in the 1960s and wrote his PhD dissertation on this group, and several subsequent articles.
Christer Norstrom, ‘They Call Us’: Strategies for Securing Autonomy among the Paliyans, Hunter-Gatherers of the Palni Hills, South India. Stockholm University, 2003
 The l is retroflex
 The n is retroflex-cg
From correspondance and other web sites:
- Even in my utterly ignorant youth Manjampatti Valley seemed to me a sort of apotheosis of all that was best about the Palni wild country. I did 3 or 4 camping trips there with friends in the period about 1967-71, always starting from Mannavanur and then plunging down after Kilaanaviyyil. These were certainly among the best outdoor experiences I've ever had.
The place was beautiful, warm in the daytime (though quite cold at night as the mountain air swept down the valley), watery, and to my eye exotic and unpredictable. It also seemed completely wild, though it certainly wasn't so in any rigorous sense. There was dry cow dung here and there, for instance.
Seeing cool wildlife was a real possibility and another point of attraction. I remember in that vicinity many birds not often seen around Kodai (fairy bluebird, some kind of trogon, a large gray swift, some small gray hornbills), bison (quite rare then, though common now), small gliding lizards, a substantial snake hanging around the river rocks near our sleeping bags, and, I'm almost sure, a leopard, of which I've ever seen only two in the wild. This one crossed a high branch near where several of us sat, and then somehow vanished utterly into thick foliage. One afternoon my friends and I climbed a hill near our campground to look into the next valley for elephants. None were visible in that direction, but we surprised (or were surprised by) a decent-sized tusker on the way down, and later heard more elephants making a lot of noise around the stream we would later cross. By the time we arrived the group had moved on, and we escaped the trampling that had earlier seemed certain.
I'm delighted that the place still exists, and apparently maintains some or all of its charms.
Paul Z. Feb, 2008
PS. I haven't been to Manjampatti in 25 years, but had been there quite a few times before then. It's one of my favorite spots on earth, at least in memory. I don't especially remember any villages after a place called Kilannavayyil, some 6 or 7 km from Mannavannur.
-I have been to Manjampatti valley three times with various people. I fell
in love with the place. We were serenaded with elephant trumpeting and grunting
at night, and swam in the crystal clear, clean streams. We explored water slides.
We also caught small fish and fried them up in a curry sauce. I found an elephant
shin bone one time, and had a photo taken.
The first day of the hike, we would go by car to Kukkal, and go through leach shola. Then we would proceed down past the Kukkal caves, into the valley, and camp in the valley, where we fished and swam. We did see an occasional snake, but it was rare -- more often we heard a rustling in a nearby bush. We would take care to place our sleeping bags out in the open.
The next day we would hike on out to the plains, where Miss. Sleifer's jeep would take us back to Kodai via Palni, and KodaiRoad. The back ghat had not at that time been constructed.
I love to remember those hikes, and have always thought I would like to go there before I get to be sixty years old!
Bob E., January 2007
"Another fascinating site was the Kukkal caves that draw tourists by the droves. These caves are actually overhanging slabs of rocks, at an altitude of 1500 m. The caves are historically valuable because they reveal traces of a long-lost civilization of early mountain settlers—the Puliyans. These tribal settlers used to wear leaf clothing and made the caves their home for centuries. Folklore has it that when a member of the tribe died he was not buried. Instead, his body was left untouched while the tribe relocated to another cave! Overhanging the caves is the Manjampatti Valley where we could see bison in plenty. Some descendants of these tribal mountain dwellers still live in the hillside near the Manjampatti Valley/2."
- "Anaimalai Hills: Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park perched on the Anaimalai Hills is a full fledged visitors` center at Top Slip with resorts to cater to the needs of eco tourists and trekkers. Top Slip, at an altitude of 740 MSL has all the amenities needed for a naturalist. Some of the important places to be visited: Monkey Falls, Aliyar, the Crocodile Breeding Center at Amaravathi, Grass Hills, Attakatti, Mirar, Kullipatti, Manompally, Chinnar, Varagaliar, Manjampatty/3 etc."
-"We drive to Chinnar wildlife Sanctuary (about 60kms), located in the rain shadow of High Ranges in the Southern Western Ghats. Its dry deciduous forest makes it easier to view the wildlife. Undulating terrain with rocky patches increase the forest make its easier to view the wildlife. The forest type comprise thorny scrub forest, dry deciduous forests, high altitude shoals and wet montane grasslands. Herds of Asiatic Elephants, Guar, Spotted Deer, the elusive Leopard, the legendry 'white bison of Manjampatti/4 and the colorful bird and butterfly life make Chinnar a must see destination in the wildlife map of Western Ghats."
- "Kodai School trekkers camping in the jungle at Manjampatti/5 near the Kerala border fellowshipped with the new body of believers there in February this year and were an answer to their prayers when help was provided for their very basic mud and stone church."
-School for Tribal Children, Manjampatti, Kodaikanal, Dindigul District, TAMIL NADU
School for Tribal Children, Manjampatti
Project Description: Trichirapalli Rural and Urban Welfare Development Educational Society (TRUWDES) in Trichy, Tamil Nadu has been running a school for tribal children in Manjampatti village, a tribal hamlet in Kodai hills, since 1999, targeting tribal children from 3-5 villages/hamlets nearby. There are no link roads, no electricity (except some solar lamps), no schools, no ration shop and no shops in these villages. The only way to reach the villages is by trekking about 3-4 hours through reserved forests, after taking permission from the forest department.
Manjampatti, the main village in this hilly area, and the villages nearby are predominantly inhabited by tribals or "Adivasis" who live off the land. Being in the midst of reserved forests, the people are forced to protect their crops from wild elephants, bison, wild boar, deer, etc. Once they harvest their crops (mostly just paddy), they have to hire ponies to take them down to Udumalpet (closest big town, about 50km away) and sell them there. The main village has about 60-70 families.
Report:current / ongoing, Project Steward, Bhaskar Venkateswaran, bhaskar_mv
AT yahoo DOT com
Project Address, Vallalar Thai Tamil Palli, Keelanavayal Post, Manavanur via Ma.Manjampatti, Kodaikanal, Dindigul District, TAMIL NADU, India
Funds Disbursed: Nov 2007 $8,000.00, Apr 2008 $8,100.00, TOTAL: $16,100.00
- "Rs 52 lakh worth ganja plants have been destroyed in the forest areas near Udumalpet. Officials carried out search since Wednesday evening in the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border and found ganja cultivated in 15 acres of land in Manjampatti/6 and nearby areas."
- "Plea to preserve Manjampatti/7 Valley -UDHAGAMANDALAM, May 26, 1996: The Tamil Nadu Green Movement has urged the State Government to preserve the ecology of the Manjampatty valley, a vital wildlife corridor. TNGM General Secretary A Rangarajan said the number of pattas being issued for settlements in the area were on the rise, and some persons were also cultivating cannabis in the area, threatening the ecology of the valley. He suggested that alternative sites could be identified to re-settle the people who had come to stay in the 300-acre area, which was also an important watershed for River Amaravathy."
-Manjampatti Valley, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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