(Last Updated on : 12/12/2008)
The Todas believe that God created the sacred buffalo first out of the earth of the Nilgiris, then the Todas and then the domestic buffaloes. So to a Toda his buffalo, his native land and himself are inseparable. His religion centres on his herd of sacred buffaloes. His priest takes care of them and only he is allowed to graze and milk them. The sacred milk is kept in the temple where the priest churns it, makes curds and butter and ghee. With the ghee he lights a lamp every morning and evening, and prays for the welfare of the tribe.
The temple is a sacred place and the priest keeps himself pure and celibate for the purpose of entering it. The charge of the dairy, therefore, ranks amongst the most respected offices. The Todas also have a `cathedral` which has a tall conical thatched roof crowned with a large flat stone. It is surrounded by a circular wail. Only three of these now exist in the Nilgiris.
The Todas have one important festival in the year: the Modhweth, which is held in December or January in Norsh (where the Toda claims he was created). Todas from the twenty munds scattered all over the Nilgiris trek to this place. Here they pray to their Goddess, Thekish. Coffee and puffed rice are served before the festival ends.
Popular legends too are quite popular amongst the Toda tribal community. Lord Amnodr and Teikirshy are the principal deities of the Toda tribal community. According to them, the goddess Teikirshy and her brother first formed the holy buffalo and after sometime also created the first Toda male. The first female of the Toda tribal community was produced from the right rib of the first Toda male.
Almost all the Toda tribal community worship the Pandava kings of the great mythology of Mahabharata. Quite a handful of temples too are built by the Toda tribal community. These are built in a circular pit covered with stones and have got very much similarity in appearance and mode of building to any of the houses of the Toda tribal community.