Udhagamandalam: Amidst considerable religious fervour the curtain went up on ‘Hethai Habba,’ the annual festival of the Badaga community (the largest indigenous social group in the Nilgiris) here on Monday.
Thousands of devotees clad in the traditional white dress of the community flocked to places like Kannerimukku, Hallu Kerai and Kerbetta to pay obeisance to their presiding deity ‘Hethe’.
Religious processions with many holding aloft the ‘Hetthe Dhadi’, the holy shaft which symbolises the miracle of Goddess Hethe, marked the occasion.
Over the next seven days the festival will be celebrated in different villages including Petthala, Dhavani, Ketti and Beragani.
Speaking to The Hindu at Kannerimukku some of the well informed members of the community pointed out that a belief which was growing stronger which each passing year was that from her sacred abode in Beragani the ancestress Goddess of the Badagas, ‘endows the whole community with her unfailing boons and presides over the welfare of all her progeny’.