Hill Pandaram - Settlements

The Hill Pandaram have two types of residential grouping—settlements and forest camps—although about 25 percent of Hill Pandaram families live a completely nomadic existence and are not associated with any settlement. A typical settlement consists of about ten huts, widely separated from each other, each housing a family who live there on a semipermanent basis. The huts are simple, rectangular constructions with split-bamboo screens and grass-thatched roofs; many are little more than roofed shelters. Around the hut sites fruit-bearing trees such as mango and tamarind, cassava and small cultivations may be found. The settlements are often some distance from village communities (with their multicaste populations) and have no communal focus like religious shrines. Settlements are inhabited only on an intermittent basis. The second type of residential grouping is the forest camp, consisting of two to six temporary leaf shelters, each made from a framework of bamboo that is supported on a single upright pole and covered by palm leaves. These leaf shelters have a conical appearance and are formed over a fireplace consisting of three stones that were found on the site. Rectangular lean-tos may also be constructed using two upright poles. Settlements are scattered throughout the forest ranges except in the interior forest, which is largely uninhabited apart from nomadic camps of the Hill Pandaram. The majority of the Hill Pandaram are nomadic and the usual length of stay at a particular camping site (or a rock shelter, which is frequently used) is from two to sixteen days, with seven or eight days being the average, although specific families may reside in a particular locality for about six to eight weeks. Nomadic movements, in the sense of shifting camp, usually vary over distances from a half-kilometer to 6 kilometers, though in daily foraging activities the Hill Pandaram may range over several kilometers.

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