HISTORY OF NILGIRIS DISTRICT
The Nilgiris, because of its natural charm and pleasant climate, was a place of Special attraction for the Europeans. In 1818, Mr. Whish and Kindersley, who were assistants to the Collector of Coimbatore, discovered the place Kotagiri near Rengaswamy peak. John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore was greatly interested in this part of the country. He established his residence there and reported to the Board of Revenue on 31st July 1819.
The Name ‘Nilgiris’ means Blue hills (Neelam – Blue and giri – Hill or Mountain) the first mention of this name has been found in the Silappadikaram. There is a belief that the people living in the plains at the foot of the hills, should have given the name, the Nilgiris, in view of the violet blossoms of ‘kurinji’ flower enveloping the hill ranges periodically. The earliest reference to the political history of the Nilgiris, according to W.Francis relates to the Ganga Dynasty of Mysore.
Immediately after the Nilgiris was ceded to the British in 1789, it became a part of Coimbatore district. In August 1868 the Nilgiris was separated from the Coimbatore District. James Wilkinson Breeks took over the administration of the Nilgiris as its Commissioner. In February 1882, the Nilgiris was made a district and a Collector was appointed in the place of the Commissioner. On 1st February 1882, Richard Wellesley Barlow who was the then Commissioner became the First Collector of Nilgiris.
Geographical Location of the District
The Nilgiris is situated at an elevation of 900 to 2636 meters above MSL. Its latitudinal and longitudinal dimensions being 130 KM (Latitude : 10 - 38 WP 11-49N) by 185 KM (Longitude : 76.0 E to 77.15 E). The Nilgiris is bounded on North by Karnataka State on the West by Coimbatore District, Erode District, South by Coimbatore District and Kerala State and as the East by Kerala State.
In Nilgiris District the topography is rolling and steep. About 60% of the cultivable land falls under the slopes ranging from 16 to 35%
Area and Population
The District has an area of 2452.50 sq.km. As per 2001 census the population of this district is as follows
Total Population Male Female Sex Ratio Area Density Total 762141 378351 383790 1014 1806.16 421.97 Rural 307532 151874 155658 1025 742.84 413.99 Urban 454609 226477 228132 1007 2549.00 178.35
The Nilgiris District Comprises of six taluks viz Udhagamandalam, Kundah, Coonoor, Kotagiri, Gudalur and Pandalur. These taluks are divided in to four Panchayat Unions viz., Udhagamandalam, Coonoor, Kotagiri and Gudalur besides two Municipalities, Wellington Contonment and Aruvankadu Township. The District consists of 56 Revenue Villages and 15 Revenue Firkas. There are two Revenue Divisional in this district viz., Coonoor and Gudalur. There are 35 Village Panchayat and 13 Town Panchayat in this District.
Name of the Revenue Division
Name of the Taluk
No. of Revenue Firkas
No. of Revenue Villages
Town Panchayat Village Panchayat Coonoor Udhagai 3 13
4 13 Kundah 2 7 Coonoor 3 9 Coonoor 4 6 Kotagiri 3 15 Kotagiri 1 11 Gudalur Gudalur 2 8 Gudalur 4 5 Pandalur 2 4
There are no irrigation schemes in this district. The crops are mainly rain fed. Check Dams have been constructed wherever it is possible to exploit natural springs.
The Nilgiris District is basically a Horticulture District and the entire economy of the district depends upon the success and failure of Horticulture Crops like Potato, Cabbage, Carrot, Tea, Coffee, Spices and Fruits. The main cultivation is plantation Crops, viz., Tea and Coffee. Potato and other vegetables are raised in Udhagai and Coonoor Taluks. Paddy and Ginger are grown in Gudalur and Pandalur Taluks. Paddy is also grown in Thengumarahada area in Kotagiri Taluk. Besides these crops, Ragi, Samai, Wheat, Vegetables etc., are also grown in small extent throughout the district.
Since this district is situated at an elevation of 900 to 2636 meters about MSL during summer the climate remains to the Maximum of 21 degree Celsius to 25 degree Celsius and the minimum of 10degree Celsius to 12degree Celsius . During the winter the temperature available to the maximum 16degree Celsius to 21degree Celsius. and minimum of 2degree Celsius.
Total Literates Male Literates Female Literates Literacy Rate Area Density Rural 202668 113834 88834 74.26 742.84 413.99 Urban 338431 182739 155692 83.9 2549.00 178.35 Total 541099 296573 244526 80.01 1806.16 421.97
The Nagapattinam - Gudalur National Highway Passes through this district. All the taluks are connected with Major District Roads. The village roads are maintained by Panchayat Union. There is no sea port or Airport in this district.
There are 8 Hydel Power Houses in this district.
1. Pykara Power House
2. Pykara Micro Power House
3. Moyar Power House
4. Kundah Power House - I
5. Kundah Power House-II
6. Kundah Power House - III
7. Kundah Power House - IV
8. Kundah Power House - V
There are one District Head Quarters Government Hospital, 5 Taluk Hospitals, 28 Primary Health Centres, 194 Health Sub-Centres and 5 Plague circles.