Toda - Settlements



In 1988 there were 64 permanently occupied Toda hamlets (including the three Christian ones). Two dry-season Hamlets also were still being used. Seasonal hamlets in the wetter parts of the highlands used to be occupied from December through March, when regular grazing grounds are parched. At least 26 have been abandoned in the past twenty years. The 61 non-Christian hamlets contained 214 households and 1,078 people, giving means of 4.7 houses and just under 16.5 persons per settlement. (Two Christian settlements follow the normal Toda pattern; the other has 18 households and 91 people.) A traditional Toda hamlet comprises 1 to 5 barrel-vaulted houses, a buffalo pen, calf sheds, and sometimes a separate calf pen. The site must have ample grazing ground for buffalo, running water, and a shola nearby for firewood and building materials. Most hamlets, until recently, had at least one sacred dairy building; a few had up to three. Toda house styles and settlements have been changing for more than a century and in 1988 only 13 of the 214 houses were of the traditional barrel-vaulted style. The dairies, where they exist, retain the traditional architecture, but as many as 26 hamlets (43 percent of the total) have no dairy building at all, or only a ruin. Buffalo pens mostly remain, but often only a fenced-in portion is still being used. Much of the surounding pasture has been dug up for potato and vegetable cultivation and several sholas have been felled. All hamlets now have electricity.


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