If you are planning on traveling to southern India and want to get a different perspective on Indian culture, consider traveling to Coorg. This area is unlike any other area in south India and you will find that it is a land of surprises and mystique. The locals of Coorg have their own distinct culture and customs, so a visit is sure to produce some enriching experiences.

The people of Coorg are known as Coorgs, but locally they are called Kodavas. While they are Hindu, they practice ancestor worship known as “Karana” which takes priority over traditional worship of Hindu gods.  Coorgs usually keep images or idols of ancestors that have passed. These items are traditionally made out of wood or clay and are offered prayer and obedience.  Along with the worship of ancestors, the Coorgs also worship nature and consider the Cauvery River to be holy.

As you might guess, Coorg culture also has different values when compared to other areas in India.  Coorgs are the only race in India that are free from the Indian Arms Act and are allowed to possess guns without a license. The locals have become very close to their weapons and they even have a festival called Keil Podh which is dedicated to weapons. Even some family traditions have weapons involved. When a family has a newborn son, a gun is shot into the sky as a welcoming to the little one. When a Coorg passes away, two gunshots are fired into the sky to notify others of the passing. While the Coorg people are fond of their weapons, there is no need to be nervous as they are renowned for their hospitality.

Coorg is definitely a place that honors tradition yet finds a way to make its own way. A visit is sure to open your eyes to a different way of life in India.

Enid Glasgow