Introduction / History The term 'Kurumbar' is shared by five tribal groups who are found in the Western Ghats (politically part of Mysore, Nilgiri, Wayanad, Coimbatore and Palakkad districts). In addition the term 'Kurumbar' is used for Kurumbar Gounder, a scheduled caste living in the plains of Coimbatore and a few other districts of Tamil Nadu. Research shows that there is more disparity between these groups than similarity. Separate population figures are not available for many of these groups individually, only for the Kurumbar in general.
The Kurumbar in Attapady are also known as Pal Kurumbar. Alu Kurumbars are also known as Pal Kurumba, Halu Kurumba and Non-standard Kannada. The Alu Kurumba in Tamil Nadu speak a dialect form of the language of the Alu Kurumba In Kerala. Research has revealed that the similarity between these two dialects is so small that the language spoken by Alu Kurumba in Tamil Nadu would be considered a separate language. The Kurumbar in Attapady are hill tribes who have settled in the steeply sloping tract of thick forest. They are the least developed of the three tribes in Attapady. Approximately 20 Kurumbar settlements are found in the steep walled narrow valley of the Bhavani river which is in Kerala.
Each village has a headman, selected by heredity or election. The people used to live in huts built of bamboo. Nowadays the government builds most of the houses for them. Anavayi is considered to be their original settlement. Mat weaving and basketry are the crafts of the Kurumbar. Both men and women perform folkdances. According to the census, the Kurumbar are followers of Hinduism. Along with the Mudugar and the Irular, the Kurumbar treat the 'Malleswaran Peak' as their deity. They worship ancestors' spirits as their clan deities. They have sacred specialists for their ceremonies. They celebrate Ammapooja, Paipooja, and Nombi festivals.