History & Profile:
The Nilgiris, because of its natural charm and pleasant climate, was a place of Special attraction for the Europeans. In 1818, Mr. Whish and Kindersley, who were assistants to the Collector of Coimbatore, discovered the place Kotagiri near Rengaswamy peak. John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore was greatly interested in this part of the country. He established his residence there and reported to the Board of Revenue on 31st July 1819.
The Name ‘Nilgiris’ means Blue hills (Neelam – Blue and giri – Hill or Mountain) the first mention of this name has been found in the Silappadikaram. There is a belief that the people living in the plains at the foot of the hills, should have given the name, the Nilgiris, in view of the violet blossoms of ‘kurinji’ flower enveloping the hill ranges periodically. The earliest reference to the political history of the Nilgiris, according to W.Francis relates to the Ganga Dynasty of Mysore.
Immediately after the Nilgiris was ceded to the British in 1789, it became a part of Coimbatore district. In August 1868 the Nilgiris was separated from the Coimbatore District. James Wilkinson Breeks took over the administration of the Nilgiris as its Commissioner. In February 1882, the Nilgiris was made a district and a Collector was appointed in the place of the Commissioner. On 1st February 1882, Richard Wellesley Barlow who was the then Commissioner became the First Collector of Nilgiris.
Geographical Location of the District
The Nilgiris is situated at an elevation of 900 to 2636 meters above MSL. Its latitudinal and longitudinal dimensions being 130 KM (Latitude : 10 – 38 WP 11-49N) by 185 KM (Longitude : 76.0 E to 77.15 E). The Nilgiris is bounded on North by Karnataka State on the East by Coimbatore District, Erode District, South by Coimbatore District and Kerala State and as the West by Kerala State.
In Nilgiris District the topography is rolling and steep. About 60% of the cultivable land falls under the slopes ranging from 16 to 35%
Area and Population
The District has an area of 2452.50 sq.km. As per 2011 census the population of this district is as follows
The Nilgiris District Comprises of six taluks viz Udhagamandalam, Kundah, Coonoor, Kotagiri, Gudalur and Pandalur. These taluks are divided in to four Panchayat Unions viz., Udhagamandalam, Coonoor, Kotagiri and Gudalur besides two Municipalities, Wellington Contonment and Aruvankadu Township. The District consists of 88 Revenue Villages and 15 Revenue Firkas. There are three Revenue Divisional in this district viz., Udhagai, Coonoor and Gudalur. There are 35 Village Panchayat and 11 Town Panchayat in this District.