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Badaga Songs on the Web

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Badaga Chanting - 'ÄTHIKKOVADHU'

The beauty about Badaga community is not only the unique customs specific to the community but the steadfast belief with which atleast some of them are followed by Badagas with fervour. One of them is the loud chanting of ‘Athikkodhu – LOUDLY saying of EAY AH HOW – on certain but specific occasions. It is said that in earlier days [hundred of years back], when the Badaga villages [hattis] were separated by thick jungle forests , ‘athikkindu Hoppadhu ‘ – traversing the forest with loud athikkodhu chant – kept the wild animals away.

Three occasions come to mind immediately,

1) During “Hethay Habba’ – both when from every village the devotees go to Hethay temples at Beragani and Peddhuva as well as when the Hethay deity is taken to ‘Madi Halla -river’ for change into new dress once a year [and also whenever a hatti temple deity is taken on procession during habbas in hattis],

2) During weddings when the bride and groom are brought to the ‘Madhuvay Mane – wedding house,and the newly weds are taken to the temple and

3) On funerals when the widow is brought for ‘olay Kattodhu’ and the ‘akki eththuva ‘ procession starts from the ‘dhodda Mane’ to ‘saavu hanay ‘ where the corpse/body is kept before being taken for burial.

This loud ‘chanting /cry’ is made from the bottom of the stomach by a few leading the procession and repeated by the rest following them.

I have given the ‘live’ recordings of this unique chanting (recorded during a wedding [the band playing in the background] at Thambatty


at a funeral at Kundhey Ketchigatty)

Hethay and Gayatri Chalisa

I am not a very religious person in the ’strictest’ sense of the word. But I am a proud Hindu and consider all religions to be equal. I am a staunch believer of HETHAY [HETHE] Amma, the Badaga Godess. I pray to Her everyday. Recently I came across ‘GAYATRI CHALISA’, supposed to be the most powerful 40 verses of prayer along with GAYATRI MANTRA. It is in Sanskrit and I do not understand most of them.The English translation makes a lot more sense.
The similarities of HETHAY and GAYATRI MATA are striking and too numerous to list, elaborate and explain. For one, BOTH are clad in spotless white and formless
Oh holy Mother Gayatri, you are the first to relieve pain, the first to satisfy and the first to bestow bliss. You are the super-intelligent, bright light of life. You are peace, awakening change, progress and incessant creative power………..

Having a swan as her vahana [carrier] Holy Mother Gayatri is clad in spotless white. Her lustrous form dazzles like gold. Betaker of the heavenly route, O Mother, you are the embodiment of everlasting ‘satwa guna’ [noble qualities] as well as truth incarnate [noble form] and dispenser of unique nectar like bliss…………

Go here to read and listen to the complete GAYATRI CHALISA and GAYATRI MANTRA go here
to the page Hethay
When you listen to Gayatri Chalisa and Mantra, they have a divine, calming effect on you.


Gayatri Mantra


ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेन्यं । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।

ஓம் பூர் புவ ஸவ | தத் ஸவிதூர் வரேண்யம் |
பர்கோ தேவச்ய தீமஹி | தியோ யோன பிரசோதயத் ||
[Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life, Remover of pain and sorrow, The Bestower of happiness, Oh! Creator of the Universe, May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light, May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction]
Gayatri Mantra, the most important prayer, inspires wisdom and is also a prayer to the “giver of light and life” – the sun (savitur),’Hothu/Suriyanu’ in Badaga.
To listen to Gayatri Mantra go here
to the page Hethay
Most of the information has been taken from the net and may Goddess Gayatri bless all those authors who have put so much info on the net so that they are freely available to any one.
I will try and explain the similarities and attempt to make a HETHAY Chalisa [Prayer to Hethay] soon.
A prayer to Hethe in Badaga
[since Badaga language does not have a script, it is given in English and Tamil]
Chinnadha kode hidiththu, singaara nade nadudhu
beththu dhadiya heguluga eththi…..heththe
nee saththiyadha vaakka hEgi, santhOshadha maaththa thOri
seemega siri thOra baa….seemega siri thOra baa
haa haa heththE O O heththE aanandha maadiniyo Odi baa heththE
bettadha jana ellaa bandhidhEga bEragaNiya maasi ammaa thaLadhO indhu
bevarakaaththi puNNiyakaaththi baali ammaa:
beLLiya kodaya naala engaga thaali ammaa
nee beLLe muNda pasundhu maadi bettadha janava nOdi
harasidhe endhu hegali ammaa
maayadha kanni ammaa madhippuLLa heththe ammaa
eera maasi ammaa, oLLiya varava thaali ammaa
ninna muththuna paadhaga morE budhdhiyO ammaa
nee kaththuva jOthi aagi thOrali ammaa
sinnadha kodaya naalaagi bandhu, ondhuga saavira aagali endhu
aanandha raagava manasuga thandhu, ninna gEnava engaga thandhu
saamandhi hoovuna pasundha thOri, seemEga singaara aagali endhu
haa haa heththE O O heththE aanandha maadiniyo Odi baa heththE
haa haa heththE O O heththE aanandha maadiniyo Odi baa heththE
seemEya jana ellaa bandhidhEga, singaara kaaththi sridhEvi thaLadhO indhu
singaarakaaththi sridhEvi baali ammaa,
sinnadha kodeya naala engaga thaali ammaa
haaluna mE hoodhu, aarambu oLLenge bEdhu,
arasaanaiya engaga thaali ammaa
maari ammaa kaaLi ammaa maayadha sakthi ammaa, om sakthi heththe ammaa
engaga oththumaiya thaali ammaa
ii boolOgava aaNdu bappa puNNiya kaaththi
ii boolOgava thaangi ibba booma thaaii
haa haa heththE O O heththE aanandha maadiniyo Odi baa heththE
haa haa heththE O O heththE aanandha maadiniyo Odi baa heththE

சின்னத கொடே ஹிடித்து, சிங்கார நடே நடுது பெத்து தடிய ஹெகுலுக எத்தி…..ஹெத்தே
நீ சத்தியத வாக்க ஹேகி, சந்தோஷத மாத்த தோரி சீமெக சிரி தோர பா….சீமெக சிரி தோர பா
ஹா ஹா ஹெத்தே ஓ ஓ ஹெத்தே ஆனந்த மாடினியோ ஓடி பா ஹெத்தே பெட்டத ஜன எல்லா பந்திதேக பேரகணிய மாசி அம்மா தளதோ இந்து
பெவரகாத்தி புண்ணியகாத்தி பாலி அம்மா: பெள்ளிய கொடய நால எங்கக தாலி அம்மா நீ பெள்ளே முண்ட பசுந்து மாடி பெட்டத ஜனவ நோடி ஹரசிதே எந்து ஹேகலி அம்மா
மாயத கன்னி அம்மா மதிப்புள்ள ஹெத்தே அம்மா ஈர மாசி அம்மா, ஒள்ளிய வரவ தாலி அம்மா நின்ன முத்துன பாதக மொரே புத்தியோ அம்மா நீ கத்துவ ஜோதி ஆகி தோரலி அம்மா
சின்னத கொடய நாலாகி பந்து, ஒந்துக சாவிர ஆகலி எந்து ஆனந்த ராகவ மனசுக தந்து, நின்ன கேனவ எங்கக தந்து
சாமந்தி ஹூவுன பசுந்த தோரி, சீமேக சிங்கார ஆகலி எந்து ஹா ஹா ஹெத்தே ஓ ஓ ஹெத்தே ஆனந்த மாடினியோ ஓடி பா ஹெத்தே
ஹா ஹா ஹெத்தே ஓ ஓ ஹெத்தே ஆனந்த மாடினியோ ஓடி பா ஹெத்தே சீமேய ஜன எல்லா பந்திதேக, சிங்கார காத்தி ஸ்ரீதேவி தளதோ இந்து
சிங்காரகாத்தி ஸ்ரீதேவி பாலி அம்மா, சின்னத கொடெய நால எங்கக தாலி அம்மா ஹாலுன மே ஹூது, ஆரம்பு ஒள்ளெங்கே பேது,அரசானைய எங்கக தாலி அம்மா
மாரி அம்மா காளி அம்மா மாயத சக்தி அம்மா, ஒம் சக்தி ஹெத்தே அம்மா எங்கக ஒத்துமைய தாலி அம்மா
ஈ பூலோகவ ஆண்டு பப்ப புண்ணிய காத்தி ஈ பூலோகவ தாங்கி இப்ப பூம தாயி ஹா ஹா ஹெத்தே ஓ ஓ ஹெத்தே ஆனந்த மாடினியோ ஓடி பா ஹெத்தே
ஹா ஹா ஹெத்தே ஓ ஓ ஹெத்தே ஆனந்த மாடினியோ ஓடி பா ஹெத்தே
To listen to this song go Chinnadha Kodey

Badaga Months in 'Kappu Huttylayu' song

Badaga Months in 'Kappu Huttileyu' Song

The more I listen to the dance song 'Kappu Huttileyu', the more fascinated I become. All the 12 Badaga months starting with KOODALU, [the names of the months given in the page 'badaga language'], are beautifully integrated within the song.The lyrics of the song go like this:-
Kappu huttileyu neppuna sundari,
Oppi hegileyu dhrachiya mundari
Kappu huttile naa hathuna notta dha, Keppu na huttile ondhuna notta tha
Thatti beetha sileyu nee edhega,
Kottu beetha hennu naa edhaga
Muthu muthu mookathiga sokki hodhane, netti niddane
Sothu pathu neetha endhu kaathundhu endhe dha, matha hegu dha, madhuvaya matha hegudha,
KOODALU thinguvana koodile singarene ,
AALAANI thinguvatha aa aagi varasha mamma ,
NALLANI go kollaandhu hega beda, ,
AANI huttidha mele badhila hegine baa mamma ,
AADHIRE jena nodi bae thumbi maathaadu ,
AADI mudidha mele ododi bannane mamma,
AAVANI thinguvadhoge dhaavani singarava ,
Arattu perattu aara PERATTASI thinguvadha,
DODDA DIVIGEYA dodda kiru edhega,
KIRU DIVIGEYA siri devi aagi banne ,
THAI mae thalaiga thatti kai yoda aatta paatta.
HEMMATTI ebbaneyu aemaathithindhu hoga beda ,
Thatti beetha sileyu nee edhaga ,
Kottu beetha hennu naa edhega!
See the side bar to listen to this song >>>>>

Thangaadu L.Krishnan, another great singer

I have heard a lot about Thangaadu L.Krishnan, probably a contemporary of Kerban Bella Gowder, but only now had the opportunity to listen to his songs, courtesy Priyaraghava of Eddakkaadu. To say the least, the voice of L.Krishnan, is very unique and the more you listen to his songs, the more you want to listen. Simply great. One of the songs from the album, Priyaraghava has hosted in Cooltoad, is “Kundha Paala Roadu dhoge”…the original Badaga atta song. I remember listening to this dance number fifty years back, a song which was a must in any habba. Old timers will remember this song being referred to as ‘ Baby powder’a bekku endhagha, Bella na hennu en Janagi, Akka akka huttidha awai, ondhu jolia heghine baali’. There are 20 songs on this album
Alillathaalodayo by bjaypee
I will be grateful to any reader who can provide more info on Thanagaadu L.Krishnan [including photos] and his songs so that we can immortalise his songs like that of Kerban Bella Gowder.

Badaga Songs and Dance

On the unique BADAGA community of the Nilgiris in Southern India…their origin, language, culture and customs !!
photo from : Kongunadu Arts and Science College, Kovai

—– Aatta Aadovo…Baarivo !

If you are one of those who enjoy the foot tapping Badaga Dance numbers, you’d like this streaming media on the side bars with some nice dance numbers

Bugiri - probably the only original musical instrument that is considered very sacred by Badagas and is extensively used during Hethai Habba. Whenever the ‘Hethai Mane’ group visits any badaga village , just before the invocation of Hethai (DEV ADDODHU) this instrument is played by the specialists. It produces a very snoothing music, and when Hethai Songs are played, it can produce an electrifying effect.


by IR Loganathan, Ithalar
[from Silver Jubilee Souvenir 1993 of Badaga Welfare Association, Madras]
Bugiri is one of the musical instruments of our ancestors. This looks like a long flute. There are a couple of small side branches at the knots of this bamboo instrument. There are six holes in this. It is learnt that this instrument was kept in all the Badaga houses in earlier days. It is also said that all the elders had the capacity to play this instrument in those days. This was played near the patients/suffering so as to make them go off to sleep forgetting their pain. During funerals, the relatives of the deceased played this to vent their sorrow.
It is difficult to exactly say the type of music/sound the bugiri produced. Still, it may be like the sound of a big fire, or the sound produced when things are rubbed systematically, or like the sound of a spinning top or like that of a constant ’sangu’ being blown. There are high and low notes produced by this instrument which can kindle deep feelings as well as to make one get thoroughly engrossed.

Photo from the Hindu (7-12-09)


Badaga Songs on the web

The unique BADAGA community of the Nilgiris in Southern India…their origin, language, culture and customs !!

 A website of Wing commander Bellie Jayaprakash that is regularly updated and more info added

Kerban Bella Gowder

Over a period of time, I have listened to a lot of Badaga singers [some were as good as professionals] but the best in my opinion is KERBEN BELLA GOWDER who had a golden voice. I met him for the first time all most three decades ago. He could play harmonium, bull bull tara or ‘thambutte’ [drum] with equal elan, His greatest ability was to compose and render songs on the spot, some times suitably changing the verses to suit the occassion.

He was a much sought after singer in any function, be it a wedding, savu or anniversary. Just with a couple of his colleagues accompanying on the thambutte [mathalam] and jalra [cymbals], he would sing while playing the harmonium. Sadly, no songs were recorded in any studio. His savu [sad] songs would bring tears streaming down even in the hardest of hearts.Another, great contribution of Bella Gowder is his rendering of many Badaga Ballads - the best being ” BERADA BELLIE “ I had the great fortune of recording [on a tape recorder] some of his songs when he had visited my home at Hubbathalai on a few occassions. Luckily I could trace them recently.

It is with a great sense of honour and as a tribute to this gifted singer I have uploaded some of his BERADA BELLIE as well as KAARA CHENNE and other songs on the net so that all of us can listen to his golden voice. The voice quality of some of these streaming songs may not be good due to the original recording having been done on a tape recorder.

I bow my head in dedication to Kerben Bella Gowder who passed away a few years back.

Listen to the streaming music of “BERADHA BELLIE” and "KAARA CHENNE" ballads in the golden voice of Bella Gowder

Kothagiri (Kurudu) Kada

Another great singer of yester years was Kada from Kothagiri. He was blind but was very very spontaneous and could keep the audience spell bound.

Some times I feel we are insensitive to others’ feelings. We call them Nondi Rama, Kividi Sevani & Kurudu Kada etc. More than the individual’s disability, it is our disability that is truly appalling & blinding!!

Badaga Dance Songs

My choice of Badaga Dance Numbers

1.Hutty Bappane 2.Kappu Huttileyu 3. Mele Keriyoge 4.Soley Gaayee

It has been brought to my notice that the above song ‘Mele Kerioge’ forms part of the album “SINGARA SEEMAE” by KHD. The lyrics are by SHOLUR G. Raman & KHD and the music is by P.Subramani, Bangalore. The singers are G.N.Ramsn, Ravi - Jakkanaarai, Shanthi Desingh and G.N.Kalai.

About Badaga music along with the unique dance form, I read this very interesting article

[H]Ethai Amman in Kovai

Sakshi [edited]

amma dance

Seventy kilometers north of Coimbatore, in the Nilgiris hill town of Ooty, resides a community of people known as the Badagas. The Badagas trace their ancestry back to Hethai Amman, a pious woman from Mysore who fled the city when a Muslim king wanted her as his prize. Theirs is a somewhat cloistered community, stretching across some 500 villages in the Nilgiri Hills, which make the border of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The Badagas have their own customs, codes, traditions and language. Dharma, faith, compassion and service—these are the hallmarks of the Badaga. They will proudly tell you that one will not find a single beggar among their "brothers and sisters" and rarely are any of their children born handicapped. (They attribute both of these to their culture, which nurtures service-mindedness)....
A central element of Badaga culture is music and dance. When inspired, the Badaga will spontaneously begin improvising melodies and lyrics. "It is our way of expressing our fondness for someone," explains Smt. Sivagami, a Badaga.
Their often-ecstatic music comes in the form of call-and-response, and some say the Badaga even have a form of telepathy, which enables them to improvise cohesively. The words and melodies are ever new, but the dance steps remain the same, regardless of the occasion. The Badaga sing and dance at weddings, births, funerals and nearly all other occasions.
The Badaga's lead singer was a lady with a piercing voice who kept time with hand cymbals as she sang. The entire time, she barely ever opened her eyes. Watching her and the rest of the Badaga—and their slow, graceful, dream-like dance—Amma commented that it was as if they were meditating.
In fact, many of her lyrics were about [Hethai] Amma:
Amma, can you hear what we are saying?
Has it reached you?
You are the Great Giver.
We are spreading happiness
By singing about you.
Come running to us. Come running.
ithai amman
The music was an onslaught of drums and cymbals. It was an earthy, powerful and glorious ruckus to which the Badaga's synchronized slow-motion dance served as a stirring and poignant counterpoint.
When Amma finished darshan at 3:00 a.m., the Badaga did not stop. With their music resonating all around her, Amma stood up on her peetham and pranamed. Then, just as Amma was about to step down and walk up to her room, she stopped and slowly began turning in a circle in imitation of the Badaga's dance. As music, applause and ecstatic cries filled the chilly hillside air, Amma walked up to her room.
"For us that was the happiest moment," Smt. Sivagami says of Amma's short dance. "We felt that Amma was really one with our community."
The Badaga sang and danced again on the last night of darshan for nearly three hours. Their devotion engulfed the entire program site. It was as if everyone was suddenly a Badaga. As Amma's three days of programs in Kovai came to a close, one Badagar spoke over the sound system: "Amma, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for these past three days. You have awoken the glory of the old days. This is a moment our community will never forget."
COPYRIGHT: © 2017 Bellie Jayaprakash. All rights reserved :: contact-> bjaypee@gmail.com || Proud to be an Indian : Proud to be a Badaga