Sacred groves as rich pockets of biodiversity in the Kodagu district

Sacred groves, known as Devarakadu ( which literally means God’s forest) in Kodava language, are rich forest pockets in the Kodagu district. It is a legacy of the people of Kodagu who understood the importance of the forest and bio diversity. The Kodavas usually install the stone idols of Bhadrakali and Aiyappa in sacred groves. All the villagers worship these deities periodically and on special occasions. Village temple committees are also formed to protect the sacred groves and perform the rituals. The first survey of the sacred groves was conducted in 1873 by the British administrators – scholars. They located 873 groves covering a total area of about 4398 hectares. In the second survey in 1905, the area was found to be 6277.73 hectares. These groves were transferred to the Revenue Department in the same year. In 1985, the groves were again handed over to the Forest Department.