Vellagavi, a hamlet in Tamil Nadu which has more temples than houses and where people don't wear footwear (Pics. Courtesy/@Prabakaran1983)
Located deep in a forest in Tamil Nadu is a quaint village whose residents will immediately strike outsiders as different. The reason being they don’t wear any footwear and that is adhered to even in public places.
The place is called Vellagavi and it has a small population of less than 200 and is close to the popular hill station Kodaikanal. There are no roads here and interestingly there are more than 25 temples in the village – exceeding the number of houses. Believing that their place is the abode of Gods, people in deference don’t wear footwear and don’t allow others to do so. Exceptions are only made for the elderly in the peak summer.
Right at the entrance of the village there is a tree greeting people after which there are temples which are interspersed between houses and also at the end of streets. All the houses have beautifully etched kollam before their house making it quite a sight.
According to the locals there have been adhering to the no-footwear custom since time immemorial.
Apart from this, the people of this place retire to bed by 7 p.m. and talking or playing music loudly is not allowed.
The only way to reach Vellagavi is by trekking through the dense forests from Kumbakkarai and takes nearly eight hours.
There are no roads, hospitals or basic amenities at this place yet people are happy as they are occupied with farming and rearing goats.
While a tea shop and a small provision store cater to the needs of the villagers, for their other requirements they need to go to Kodaikanal.
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