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the Palni hills) in Madura and Melur.

The temperature is officially recorded at Madura ami Kodai- Temierature.

kanal, but figures for
the latter are avail-
able for only a short
period. The aver-
age maxima and
minima and the mean
for 'each month at
Madura are shown
in degrees Fahren-
heit in the margin,
and alongside is
given the daily velo-
city of the wind in
each month. These
figures do not, how-
ever, give an idea
of the extremes
which are sometimes
reached. The mer-
cury has been known, for example, to fall to 59*2° and to rise
to 105-5°.

The annual mean temperature is four degrees higher than in
the next recording station to the north, Coimbatore, and in every
month in the year the mean in Madura is in excess of the figure
at that station. Compared with its other next neighbours,
Trichinopoly and Tinnovclly, Madura will be found to be a degree
or two cooler than the latter in every month in the year, but
slightly hotter than the former in the four months November to
February. TJie worst part of the year is April, May and June,
and it is only in November, December anti January that tlie mean
temperature is below 80°. Dindigul, however, is considerably





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fc-7 9

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September ...








82 7


November ...





December ...
The year




117 6


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{ 99-8




CHAP. I, cooler than Madura, and daring the south-west monsoon the heat

Climate. in the Xambam vallej is reduced V>y the pleasant breeze which

blows down it from the hills. In Madura town, as the figures

above show, the only 2:)eriods when the wind is at all strong are

after the north-east, and during the south-west, monsoon.

The annual mean humidity of Madura (70'2) is slightly less
than that of Tinne\elly and rather higher than that of Trichinopoly.
Of the five-day periods for which the Meteorological department
works out averages, the driest in the year (humidity 61"6) is
usually that from June 20th to 24th and the wettest (humidity
78-8) from November 7th to 11th.

Geologically, Madura is not interesting. Except a narrow
alluvial strip along the Yaigai valley (which generally consists of
a very sandy loam) the whole of the district is covered with
gneissic rocks. These have not yet been examined in any great
detail, especially in the north of the district, but in the centre
and south they may apparently be divided^ into the following six
groups : -

1. Lower granitoid gneiss — Tirumangalam group.

2. Lower granular quartz rock — Kokkulam group.

3. Middle granitoid gneiss — Skandamalai group.

4. Middle grauular quartz rock — Nagamalai group.

5. Upper granitoid gneiss — Melur group.

6. Upper granular quartz rock — Alagarmalai group.

The lowest of this series, the lower granitoid gneiss group,
is the set of beds which occur in the Tirumangalam taluk. The
next lowest, the lower granular quartz rock, forms a ridge about
two miles to the south of the Nagamalai and has been named
after the village of Kokkulam (off the Tirumangalam-Solavandan
road) which stands close by one portion of it. This can be
traced, despite some gaps, for many miles. Northwards from
Kokkulam the ridge runs parallel to the Nagamalai for a great
distance and to the south it extends beyond the Skandamalai (or
Tirupparankunram hill) before it disappears under the alluvium.
The middle granitoid gneiss group is well exemplified in the
Skandamalai and in some smaller hills to the north-west of this
near the Tirumangalam-Solavandan road. The fourth of the six
groups, the middle granular quartz rock, forms the Nagamalai
and its continuation the Pasumalai, and then disa^jpears south-
wards under the alluvium. The upper grauitoid gneiss group

^ See Mr. Bruce Foote'B description of them in the Memoirs of the Geol.
Sury. of India, xx, pt, Ij H ff-j from which the pi-eeent account is abstracted.


occupies tlie country to the nortli-west of Tirnvadur in the Meh'ir CHAP T.
taluk anrl stretches to the north-east as far as tlic alluvium of GKor.ooy.

the Palar and to the south-west down to the valley of the Yaigai.

The numerous hills which are ^formed of this rock in this tract
are conspicuous for their holdness of form and Leauty of colour.
Among- them is the curious Anaimalai referred to on p. 254,

The uppermost of the six groups, the upper granular quartz
rock, appears prominently in the hold scarp of the south-east side
of the Alagarraalai.

In the west of the district charnockite is found, and the
Palnis consist entirely of this rock. In the Yarushanad hills are
hornblende schists and granulites, penetrated by veins of mica-
bearing pegmatite.

Minerals are extremely rare. At Tirumal, a village five miles Minerals,
north-east of Kalligudi railway-station in the Tirumangalam taluk,
is a broad band of white crystalline limestone which may be
traced nearly two miles to the eastward and has been much
quarried, and a little to the westward of Kokkulam (two miles
north of Tirumal) are two smaller limestone beds. This rock is
also scattered through other parts of the district. From the
Gopalasvami hill, in the extreme south of Tirumangalam near the
road to Srivilliputtur, red and white fragments of transparent
quartz are obtained. Short and small quartz veins also occur
on the western slope of the Sirumalais east and south-east of
Ammayanayakkanur railway-station. Perhaps the best building-
stone in the district is that quarried from the Skandamalai.
The iron ore found near Kottampatti in Melur taluk and the gold-
washing at Palakkaniittu in Dindigul are referred to in the
accounts of those places in Chapter XV (pp. 287 and 241) below.

In 1899 the Greological Survey of India acquired an interest-
ing meteorite which had been found near Kodaikanal. It is only
the second iron mctc.>vite which has been discovered in India and
weighed about 85 lbs. against the 10 lbs. of the other known
example, which fell in the Vizagapatam district in 18~0. It was
composed almost entirely of nickeliferous iron.'

Botanically, the most interesting parts of the district are the Flora.
Palni and Sirumalai Hills. Dr. Eobert Wight, the well-known
botanist, vi>ited a portion of the former in 1836 and recorded his
observations in the Madras Journal of Liferafure and Science for

' See the Survey's General Report for 1890-1900, 4, for moro particiilars
of it.


CHAP. 1. April 18^7 ; and in the sarno mngfizitiG for Jan nary-Marcli 1858

. Fr.oRA. is (Jolonol Bodiiomo's account of tho ' Flora of the Piilnej Hill'

whifli enumerates over 703 species of plants, exclusive of Compo-

sittT, Gra>nin(B and Cryplojams wliicli wore not determined.

Wight says : —

' The natural productions of the country are eufficiently varied to
give us reason to put a high estimate on its probable capahillties. In
the course of about 15 days I collected little short of 500 species of
plants, and without any attempt on my part to preserve specimens of
all the plants in flower or fruit at this season ; many being rejected
merely because 1 was not in want of specimens. It did not in bhort
occur to me at the time, which it has since, to compare the vegetable
productions of these hills with the recorded ones of the country generally.
Tliis I greatly regret, as I tnink, were a somewhat perfect collection
formed, it would be found to contain a number of species amounting to
from one-half to four-fifths of the whole peninsula flora, so far as we
are yet acquainted with it, and to present a vast number of species
peculiar to themselves. Among the European forms observed were
two species of Ranunculus; two oi Anemone ; three of Clematis; two
of Berberis ; a new Parnassia ; two of Drcsera (sun-dew) ; one Stellana,
and one Cerastium (chick-weed) ; a rose, very abundant ; three or four
kinds of rasps or brambles ; one Potennlhi ; one Circaa (enchanter's
night shade) ; a tree allied to the Bilberry {Thihaudt'a); one AnagalUs;
two oi Lysimichia, both allied to British species; the common dock,
very abundant about the vilbiges; and three kinds of rushes (Juncvs),
one very nearly allied to the common British rush {Jimcus rffasus).
Among the truly tropical forms, a species of Magnolia, the first I
believe that has been discovered in the peninsula, is the most interest-
ing; the RJiododendron ncbihs, very abundant; a very large and hand-
some Ilex (holly), but without the thorny leaves of the European pi int ;
a sj)Gcics of Gordonia, a tree resembling In its flowers the Car'ie'ia and
tea plant; a veiy remarkable s;k cies of fig, with a climbing stem,
bearing fruit of the size of large oranges, in clusters along the stems;
besides many other interesting trees which 1 fear it would be tedious
to mention. Four species o? palms are met with ou the higher
regions, name'}', the sago palm [Canjota urcns), a wild areca palm, the
Jien(ir,cl-ia co?idiipana, and an alpine species of date. The grasses aio
very numerous but the predominant tribe (Andro^'O^inex) are not those
best suited for pasturage, being generally of a coarse nature and
highly aromatic quality. Ferns, m- ss s, and lichens, abound : among
which, the moit conspicuous is a branching variety of the Tre^ fern
[Aldophila) very common in thick jungles ou moist banks of ttream=.'

Dr. A. G. Bourne, f.r.S., and Mrs. Bourne have since studied
the flora in the neighbourhood of Kodaikanal, and the former has
vorj kindly permitted the reproduction of the following extracts


from hia introductory note to tLe list of plants they observed in CIIAP. I.
that part : — Flora.

' I have been able to trace most of the plants mentioned by
Wight. Ranunculus reniforml>i, Wall, and B. Walh'c/nanus, W.
and A. are both very common. The two species of Anemone are
doubtless merged into A. rwularis, Ham, ; that at any rate is the
only species I find. The three Clematis are C. smilacifolia, Wall.,
C. GoiirianOy Eoxb. and C. Wiyhtiana, Wall. The two Berberids
are B. nepalensis, Spr. and B. aristata, DC. The new ' Parnassia '
is doubtless Parnassia nnjsorcnsis, Heyne. The Droseras are
B. Burmaimi, Valil. and D. peltata, Sm. The latter literally
clothes the banks in certain places. Stellaria media occurs and
is common in certain places only, while Cerastium indicum is
abundant in a few spots. Ros(\ LesehetiauUiana, AV. & A., the
only wild rose I found, is common in a few localities only. The
* three or four kinds of rasps or brambles ' resolve themselves into
Rubus molluccanus, L., R. ellipticus, Sm. and R. lasiocarpus, Sm.
The latter is doubtless Roxburgh's R. racemosus. Potentilla Les-
chenaultiana is very common. Wight's Girccea turns out to be C.
alpina. With regard to the ' tree allied to the Bilberry,' I have
three species of Vaccinium. Anagallis arvensis is very rare except
near Pumbarai. Lysimachia Leschenaultii, Duby and L. deltoides
both abound. Rumex nepalensis^ Spreng. is the only ' dock '
I found and there was not much of that. Juncus glaucus, Ehrh.
{J. effusus, Steud.) and J. prismatoca^'pus, Br. are both common.

With regard to the ' truly tropical forms ' the Magnolia
mentioned by Wight and subsequently by Beddome must be
Mtchelia champaca, and this is more frequently met with on the
Piimbarai side, which they chiefly explored, than near Kodaikanal ;
it also occurs on the Sirumalais, but in both places has been
doubtless planted, as it is not found far away from the villages.
Rhododendron arboreum, var. nilagirica, Ilex malabarica, I. Gard-
neriana and three other species, Gordonia obtusa, Ftcus macrocarpa,
with its ' fruit the size of large oranges,' all find a place in my list.

The soil on the hills varies in depth from a few inches to a
few feet, while in many places patches of fairly smooth bare rock
are exposed ; this is sometimes full of cracks and covered with
loose boulders. In such places, even where there is not sufficient
soil for grass, may be found Cyanoiis arachnoidea, Anisochilus,
Kalanchoe, Aneilema Koenigii, and here and there groups of
Osbeha Wightiana attaining from five to six feet in height,
all rooting in the crevices. Where there is a little soil, the
commonest grasses will be Andropogon contortus and A. lividus, the



CIIAP. I. spikes, stems, and (when mature) tlie leaves, of wliich form tlie
Flora. chief factor in giving the hill tops their purplish tinge. A little
lower down come great tufts of Pollmia quadrinervis var.
Wiyhtii, with its fascicles of rich brown spikes on stems generally-
several feet in height, of Ischcemum ciliare, with its pairs of thick
rich purple spikes, of ArundineUa villosa, with its solitary untidy-
looking spikes, and of Andropo(/on zeylanicus and A. Wiyhtiana,
both with long graceful panicles — the former mostly purplish in
colour with bright yellow anthers and rich purple styles, and the
latter a most beautiful grass, the outer glumes of the pedicelled
spikelets being salmon-coloured, the sessile spikelets leraon-yellow
(as are the anthers and styles) while the awns are over two inches
long and yellowish brown in colour. Among these tall species,
in addition to those above mentioned, occur Tripogon bromoides,
ArundineUa mesophylla (peculiar, so far as I know, to these hills)
and, keeping quite low on the ground, Eragrostis amabilis. At
rather lower elevations, say 5,000 feet downw^ards, one may come
across miniature forests of Andropogon Nardus and, though not
usually in the same localities, A. schoenanthus, the former readily
distinguishable here from the latter by the almost electric green
of its leaves. On the ghdt are some splendid clumps of
Andropogon halepemis and Garnotia.

To return to the high hills, almost everywhere are to be found
among the grass Brunella vulgaris, Knoxia mollis, Wahlenbergia
gracilis, Leucas hehanthemifolia, Indigofera pedicellata, Cyanotis
Wighiii (in better soil only, than C. arachnoidea will grow in — it
may generally be found at the bottom of the pits which have beeu
dug for planting trees in if they have been left empty for a year
or two), Poly gala sibirica and, frequently with it and closely
resembling it in leaf and habit, Crotalaria albida. The small-
leaved variety of C. rubiginosa is common in some places and
commoner stiU. is a Crotalaria which I cannot match. This occurs
in perfectly glabrous forms in some places ; it attains its largest
size where it grows in good soil on a road-side bank and its
branches hang down. Yery common also in similar situations
are two Valerians ( V. Hookeriana on the Kodaikanal side, V.
Beddomei on the Piimb^rai side), Striga lutea, Gentiana quadrifaria^
to see the azure blue of whose flowers one must go out in the
middle of the day, Micromeria bijlora^ the leaves of which are most
delicately aromatic, Bupleurum disticophyllum , Curculigo orchioides,
with its three or four leaves and single yellow flower coming up
out of the ground, and, sometimes in great patches making a whole
hill-side white, Anaphalis oblonga and A. brevi/olia.


A notable feature ol many of those liill-sicles is the number of CHAP. I.
small landslips whicli liave occurred owing- to the surface soil Flora
slipping- on the smooth rock. Sometimes they look like the foot-
steps of a gigantic animal wliich lias slipped in going up hill ; at
others they are on a larger scale and an entire liill-side appears to
be terraced with steps from tliree to four feet high and from five
to six feet Avide ; in some places they have occurred on a huge
scale and, as suggested hy Wight, the whole of the Pumbarai
■valley with its numerous offshoots looks as though it had been
formed in this way. Going down the slopes to the' bottoms of
the valleys one constantly passes through masses of Strobikmt/ies
JCunthianus and below it bracken. At the bottom flourish Dipsacus
Leschenaultii and alas ! huge thistles — Cnicus WalUchii — and
Heradeum SprerKjeUamum and H. rigens. The streamlet at the
bottom runs as a rule between six and eight feet underground,
showing- itself here and there at the bottom of deep holes formed
by the falling in of the earth. In the tunnels live jackals and
the hill mongoose, Herpesies viiUcollis. The vertical, or even
under-cut, sides of the holes are covered with ferns, and here
one may constantly find Biumea hieracifolia, Parnassia mysorensis,
HydrocotyJe, Se^^picuJa indica and in some places the charming
little Circcea aJpina. Very few other plants grow in tliese holes,
into many of which very little light penetrates.

When there is a large damp area the ground is generally
bright with flowers — in contrast to most similar spots on the
Nilgiris. In such places grow Lysimachia Leschenaultii, FedicuJaris
zeylanica, Impatiens tenella, Osbekia cupuJaris, Exacum airopur-
pureum, Scdyrium nepalense, AnapJialis Wightiana, BanuncuJus
reniformis, Dipsacm Leschenaultii, Oommelina clavata, Eriocauhn,
Lenttbuhrtce, Xyris, Hypericum napoulense and H. j'aponicwn, and
Drosera. The commonest plants forming road-side hedges are the
species of Rubus and in some places Adenostemma. Scattered trees
are almost sure to be Photinia, Vaccinium, Eurya or Bhododendron,
Other plants which one is pretty sure to meet with hcte and
there in any walk are Artemisia, Polygonum Chineme^ Heradeum
Sprengelianum, Pimpinella, Coleus barbatus, Hedyoiis Sweriioides and
H. articularis, Sopubia irifida and S. Delphinifolia, Gaultheria
fragrantissima , Senedo zeylanica and S. LaranduJif alius , Anaphalis
artstata, Cnicus WalUchii, various species of Pledranthus, Campanula
fulgens, Emilia Sond/ifolia, Flemingia, etc., etc. Strobilanfhes Kun-
ihianus forms great patches here and there and even covers
whole hill-sides. The commonest ground orchids are Spiranthes
aushrdis, of wliich I have counted over fifty spikes while standing
in one spot, Habemria elliptica and H. Gakandra.'



CHAP. I. The flora of the Sirumalais has not yet "been examined in

Flora. detail, but Dr. Bourne's collectors found there a number of
plants which do not occur on the Palnis, and the range deserves
systematic study.
Fauna. The indigenous cattle of the district are small and of no

Cattle. special value, and the Kappiliyans of the upper part of the Kam-
bam valley (see belo^) are the only people who take any trouble
to improve the breed. In Melur and Tirumangalam ploughing
is even done (especially by the Kalians) with cows. In Dindigul
and Melur' the ryots import ani]nals from Manapdrai and
Marungdpuri in Trichinopoly, while Palni taluk is partly supplied
with Coimbatore {' Kongandd ') cattle. The richer ryots in Tiru-
mangalam also purchase Mysore bullocks for ploughing the
cotton-soil there, which requires strong animals, In many
villages cattle are specially raised for the j'allikats referred to
on p. 83 beloWj and these have been described' as being a
special breed.

The chief cattle market in the district is that held at Madura
on the occasion of the great Chittrai festival at the temple there.
As many as 30,000 head have been counted at this fair and it is
perhaps the largest in the southern districts. The majority of
the foreign animals brouglit to it are those reared round about
Manapdrai and in Coimbatore, but some Mysore cattle from
Salem are also offered for sale.

The number of ploughing-bullocks per cultivated acre is, as
elsewhere, smallest in the dry taluks and largest where wet lands
are most common. The supply is at present insufficient on the
land in Melur whicli is being newly irrigated with the Periyar
water. Here and there cholam is grown for fodder, being sown
very thickly so as to produce a thin stalk, and round Vedasandur
in Dindigul grass is cultivated on dry fields ; but otherwise no
special steps are taken to provide cattle food. Einderpest is not
uncommon and caused great loss in Periyakulam taluk in 1899.

The Kappiliyans of Kambam above alluded to are immigrants
from the Canarese country and speak that language. They
possess a herd of about 150 cattle of a distinctive breed (small,
active, round-barrelled animals, well known for their trotting
powers) which they say are the descendants of some cattle they
brought with them when they first came to these parts. These
deserve a note. They are called the devaru dvn in Canarese or in
Tamil the iambirdn mddu, both of which phrases mean ' the sacred

^ Bulletin No. 44, Vol. II, of the Madras Department of Land Eecords
and Agriculture.


herd.' The cows are never milked and are only used for breed- CHAP. I.

ing. Members of the herd which die are buried, and are not Fauna.

(as elsewhere) allowed to bo desecrated by the chuckler's skin-

ning-knife. The leader of the herd is called ' the king- bull '

(patfadu dvu), and when lio dies a successor is selected in a quaint

manner with elaborate and expensive ceremonial. On the

auspicious day fixed for the election the whole herd is assembled

and camphor, plantains, betel and nut and so forth are solemnly

offered to it. A bundle of sugar-cane is then placed before it,

and the attendant Kdppiliyans watch eagerly to see which of the

bulls of the herd will approach and eat this. The animal which

first does so is acclaimed as the new ' king bull ' and is formally

installed in his office by being daubed with saffron and kunku-

mam and garlanded with flowers. Thereafter he is treated by

the whole caste as a god, is given the holy name of Nandagopala-

svami, and is allotted, to watch over and worship him, a special

attendant who enjoys the inams which stand in his name and

is the custodian of the jewels and the copper grants which were

presented in days gone by to his predecessors. There are now

nine of these grants, but they do not state the Sakha year in

which they were drawn out and the names of the rulers who

conferred them are not identifiable. The king bulls are credited

with having performed many miracles, stories of which are stUl

eagerly related, and their opinion is still solicited on matters of

importance. The herd, for example, is not taken to the hills for

the hot weather until its king has signified his approval by

accepting some sugar and milk placed near him. His attendant

always belongs to a particular sub-division of the caste and

when he dies his successor is selected in as haphazard a fashion

as the king bull himself. Before t]:e assembled Kdppiliyans,

puja is offered to the sacred herd ; and then a }'oung boy is

seized with divine inspiration and points out the man who is to be

the new holder of the ofPce.

The herd receives recruits from outside, owing to the Hindus
round about dedicating to it all calves whicli are born on the first
day of Tai, but these are not treated as being quite of the elect.
The K^ppiliyans have recently raised Es. 11,000 by taxing all
members of the caste in the Periyakulam taluk for three years,
and have spent this sum in building roomy masonry quarters at
Kambam for the sacred herd. Tlieir chief grievance at present
is that the same grazing foes are levied on tlieir animals as ou
mere ordinary cattle, which, they urge, is equivalent to treating
gods as equals of men.



Sheep and

CHAP. I. 'A'lie care tliey take of their animals suggests the possibility

Fauna, of improving the breed hj giving them a good Government bull.

This would need to be of one of the lighter breeds, as the cows

are all small.

In 1879 and the following years an experiment was made to
see how Amrat Mahal cattle would do on the Palnis. A small
herd of twelve animals was entrusted by Government to Mr.
Verc Levinge, who liad retired to Kodaikanal from the^Collector-
ship of Madura, and this was under his charge until his deatli
in 1885. It was then dispersed. While it was on the hills it
increased to twenty-six head and — except for one attack of foot
and mouth disease— flourished well. Mr. Levinge reported that a
mixed herd of his own, consisting of English, Australian, country-
bred and Aden cattle, also did well there on no other food than

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