Grove capital of the world

Devara Kaadu (Sacred Forest) is a small forest like grove marked as the adobe of the local deities. Coorg has many hundred such sacred groves scattered all over the region. In fact every village would have such a place of worship. Some of them are sprawling mini forests with many hundred acres of span, while the rest are of smaller scales anything from an acre upwards.

For example the groves are left un touched. The trees and never pruned, no paths are cut into the groves, not even the fallen trees, leaves or twigs are cleared. In short a Devara Kaadu stays as a miniature forest close to the village.

Inside the Devara Kaadu there are shrines dedicated to various deities. These are typically a simple open shrines with the image of the god installed on the stone platform. The paths inside the Devara Kaadu is restricted to accessing these shrines for worship.

Many places practice complex and age-old rituals and customs that are not very easy to understand and explain. While superficially a Devara Kaadu appears as a religious institution associated with the spiritual and emotional needs of the village folks of Coorg, the underlying principles demonstrate a far more complex relation between people and Nature.

The significance has made United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) designate Coorg as the ‘grove capital of the world’. The whole idea is to preserve the tradition of Devara Kaadu in Coorg.

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