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Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 702 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NILGIRIS, THE, or NEELGHERRIES (Blue Mountains), a range of hills in southern India, which gives its name to a district of the Madras Presidency. The Nilgiris are really a plateau rather than a range, rising abruptly from the plains on most sides, with a general elevation of about 6500 ft. above the sea. The DISTRICT OF THE NILGIRIS is the smallest administrative district in Madras. It formerly consisted exclusively of a mountain plateau lying at an average elevation of 6500 ft., with an area of about 725 sq. m. In 1873 this was increased by the addition of the Ochterlony valley in the south-east Wynaad, and again, in 1877, by other portions of the Wynaad, makinga total area of 958 sq. m. The administrative headquarters is at Ootacamund, which is also the summer capital of the government of Madras. The summit of the Nilgiri hills is an undulating plateau, frequently breaking into lofty ridges and steep rocky eminences. The descent to the plains is sudden and abrupt, the average fall from the crest to the general level below being about 6000 ft., save on the north, where the base of the mountains rests upon the elevated land of Wynaad and Mysore, standing between 2000 and 3000 ft. above sea-level. The Ochterlony valley and Wynaad country consist of a series of broken valleys, once forest-clad throughout, but now studded with tea and coffee-gardens. The highest mountain peaks are—Dodabetta, 876o ft.; Kudiakad, 8502; Bevoibetta, 8488; Makurti, 8402; Davarsolabetta, 8380; Kunda, 8353; Kundamoge, 7816; Ootacamund, 7361; Tambrabetta, 7292; Hokabetta, 7267. There are six well-known passes or ghats by which the district communicates with the neighbouring plains, three of which are practicable to wheeled traffic. The chief rivers are the Moyar, Paikara and Calicut, none of which are navigable. The forests consist of fine timber trees, such as sail (Shorea robusta), kino (Pterocarpus Marsupium), jack (Artocarpus integrifolia), blackwood (Dalbergia latifolia) and teak. Eucalyptus and Australian wattle have been extensively planted in the higher grounds of the Wynaad. The hills were first explored by British officers in 1814, and in 1821 the first English house was built on the plateau. The hill tribes include the Todas, the Badagas, the Kotas, the Kurumbas and the Irulas (q.v.). The total population of the district in 1901 was 111,437, showing an increase of 11.7% in the decade. The commercially important products are coffee, tea and cinchona. Coffee cultivation was introduced about 1844. One of its chief seats is the Ochterlony valley. The Madras government commenced the experimental cultivation of cinchona on the Nilgiris in 1860, and several private cinchona gardens were laid out, owing to the success of the government experiment. The climate of the Nilgiri hills is almost unrivalled for equability of temperature. The average is 58° F. The approach from the plains is by the branch of the Madras railway from Podanur to Mettapolliem, whence a metre-gauge line on the rack principle has been constructed to Coonoor, with an extension to Ootacamund. The chief educational institution is the Lawrence Asylum at though not the largest in France. It dates from the 1st or 2nd century A.D., and was used as a fortress for some time during succeeding centuries. Occupied daring the middle ages by a special quarter, with even a church of its own, it was cleared in 1809, and since then has been well kept in repair. It is built of large stones fitted together without mortar. In form it is elliptical, measuring approximately 440 by 336 ft. externally; the arena is 227 by 1262 ft. The elevation (70 ft. in all) consists of a ground story of 6o arches, an upper story of 6o arches and an attic with consoles pierced with holes for supporting the velarium or awning. The building, which was capable of holding nearly 24,000 persons, has 4 main gates, one at each of the cardinal points; and 124 doorways gave exit from the 35 tiers of the amphitheatre to the inner galleries. Originally designed for gladiatorial shows, naval spectacles, chariot races, wolf or boar hunts, the arena has in recent times been used for bull-fights. The celebrated Maison Carree, a temple in the style of the Parthenon, but on a smaller scale, 82 ft. long by 40 wide, is one of the finest monuments of the Roman period, and according to an inscription is dedicated to Ga,ius and Lucius Caesar, adopted sons of Augustus, and dates from the beginning of the Christian era. It contains a collection of antique sculptures and coins. The so-called temple of Diana, which adjoins the Fountain Gardens, was probably a building connected with the neighbouring baths of which remains are visible. Two Roman gates, the Porte d'Auguste, consisting of two large archways flanked by two smaller ones and dating from A.D. 16, and the Porte de France are still preserved. The Tour Magne (Turris Magna) is still 92 ft. in height, and was formerly a third higher. Admittedly the oldest monument of Nimes, it has been variously regarded as an old signal tower, a treasure house or a mausoleum. Attached to the ramparts erected by Augustus, and turned into a fortress in the middle ages by the counts of Toulouse, the Tour Magee was restored about 184o. Near the Tour Magne has been discovered the reservoir from which the water conveyed by the Pont du Gard (see AQUEDUCT) was distributed throughout the city. When it still possessed its capitol, the temple of Augustus, the basilica of Plotina erected under Hadrian, the temple of Apollo, the baths, the theatre, the circus, constructed in the reign of Nero, the Campus Martius and the fortifications built by Augustus, Nimes must have been one of the richest of the Roman cities of Gaul. The cathedral (St Castor), occupying, it is believed, the site of the temple of Augustus, is partly Romanesque and partly Gothic in style. The church of St Paul, a modern Romanesque building, is adorned with frescoes by Hippolyte and Paul Flandrin; St Baudile (modern Gothic) is of note for the two stone spires which adorn its facade; and the court-house has a fine Corinthian colonnade and a pediment. Other buildings of note are the old citadel (dating from 1687, and now used as a central prison), and the former lycee, ,which contains the public library and the museums of epigraphy, of archaeological models of the Roman and Romanesque periods, and of natural history. The town also has a collection of paintings. The esplanade in front of the court-house has in the centre a handsome fountain with five marble statues by James Pradier. The Fountain Gardens, in the north-west of the town, owe their peculiar character as well as their name to a spring of water which after heavy rains is copious enough not only to fill the ornamental basins (constructed in the 18th century with balustrades and statues on ancient foundations) but also to form a considerable stream. Neither the spring, however, nor the Vistre into which it discharges, is sufficient for the wants of the city, and water has consequently been brought from the Rhone, a distance of 17 M. A beautiful avenue, the Boulevard de la Republique, runs south for nearly 1 m. from the middle walk of the garden. Nimes has erected monuments to the " Children of Gard " (by A. Mercia), to Alphonse Daudet and to the Provencal poet Jean Reboul, natives of the town. The city is the seat of a bishop, a prefect, a court of appeal and a court of assizes, and has tribunals of first instance and of, commerce, a board of trade-arbitrators, an exchange, a chamberof commerce and a branch of the Bank of France. Its educational establishments include lycees and training colleges for both sexes, and schools of music and art. At the close of the middle ages the industries of Nimes were raised to a state of great prosperity by a colony from Lombardy and Tuscany; and, though the plague, the Wars of Religion and the revocation of the edict of Nantes were all sufficiently disastrous in their effects, before the Revolution about half of the whole community, or from ro,000 to 12,000 persons, had come to be engaged in manufactures, chiefly that of silk. Upholstery materials, shawls, carpets, handkerchiefs, tapes and braidings, brandy, hosiery, leather, clothes, candles, machinery and boots and shoes are now manufactured, and there are a number of foundries. Nimes is, besides, one of the great southern markets for wine and brandy, and there is a good trade in grain, groceries and colonial wares. Quarries of hard limestone, used as the material for the amphitheatre and other buildings by the Romans, are still worked in the vicinity. Nimes, the ancient Nemausus, derived its name from the sacred wood in which the Volcae Arecomici (who of their own accord surrendered to the Romans in 121 B.C.) were wont to hold their assemblies. Strabo states that it was the metropolis of a district containing twenty-four dependent towns, and that it was independent of the proconsuls .of Gallia Narbonensis. Constituted a colony of veterans by Augustus, 'and endowed with numerous privileges, it built a temple and struck a medal in honour of its founder. The medal, which afterwards furnished the type for the coat of arms granted to the town by Francis I., bears on one side the heads of Caesar Augustus and Vipsanius Agrippa (the former crowned with laurel), while on the other there is a crocodile chained to a palm-tree, with the legend Con. NEst. It was Agrippa who built the public baths at Nimes, the temple of Diana and the aqueduct of the Pont du Gard. The city-walls, erected by Augustus, were nearly 4 M. in circuit, 30 ft. high and to ft. broad, flanked by ninety towers and pierced by ten gates. Hadrian on his way back from Britain erected at Nimes two memorials of his benefactress Plotina. In the very height of its prosperity the city was ravaged by the Vandals; the Visigoths fcllowed, and turned the amphitheatre into a stronghold, which at a later date was set on fire along with the gates of the city when Charles Martel drove out the Saracens. Nimes became a republic under the protection of Pippin the Short; and in 1185 it passed to the counts of Toulouse, who restored its prosperity and enclosed it with ramparts whose enceinte, less extensive than that of Augustus, may still be traced in the boulevards of the present day. The city took part in the crusade against the Albigenses in 1207. Under Louis VIII. it received a royal garrison into its amphitheatre; under Louis XI. it was captured by the duke of Burgundy, and in 1420 was recovered by the dauphin (Charles VII.). On a visit to Nimes Francis I. enriched it with a university and a school of arts. By 1558 about three-fourths of the inhabitants had become Protestants, and in 1567 a massacre of Catholics took place on St Michael's day. From the accession of Henry IV. till the revocation of the edict of Nantes (1685) the Protestant community devoted itself to active industry; but after that disastrous event great numbers went into exile or joined the Camisards. Louis XIV. built a fortress (1687) to keep in check the disturbances caused by the rival religious parties. Nimes passed unhurt through the storms of the Revolution; but in 1815 Trestaillon and his bandit followers pillaged and burned and plundered and massacred the Bonapartists and Protestants. Since then the city has remained divided into two strongly marked factions—Catholics and Protestants—though with no repetition of such scenes. See H. Bazin, Names Gallo-Romain (Nimes, 1891); L. Menard, Histoire civile, ecclesiasti ue et litteraire de la ville de Nismes ; R. Peyre, Nimes, Arles et Orange (Nimes, 1903).
End of Article: NILGIRIS, THE, or NEELGHERRIES (Blue Mountains)
NILGAI, or NYLGHAU (" blue bull ")

Additional information and Comments

The NeilGiri Hills is a Jewish Settlement area from 562 BC When King Nebonessar Conquered Judea and after the Death of Belshazzar when he saw the writing on the wall.... and during the Reign of King Darius and Cyrus. A group of Jews came to India fearing captivity and settled in India. Among them were Saints of Jewish nobility who were taken as captives by Nebuchadnessar as small children and finding them handsome and intelligent The King put them in Royal Schools and educated them and later used their service in his court. The name of Neilgiri comes from the name of one of the saints who after he was asked to measure his way by the angel on the banks of river Tigris came and meditated on the mountain peaks sitting on round disk like granite stone seats.His footwear are with a noble man in his tresury With them were the Levites and Kohathites who played various instruments while they worshiped. The Torah (Toda),Kohathites (Kotas),Northerns (Badagas) are the descendants of these Jewish noble saints.These people are preserved but they themselves do not know who they are and have gone into idolatry that they live in their own world.Their descendants were at one time spice merchants and earned a lot of wealth in trade which they also hid underground on the hills.They were plundered and persecuted by some Indian noble men from down the hills in the North and the Tribes were driven up the hill and they adapted to prehistoric lifestyle and some were driven down the hills who later came back and live a better life they are the Badagas.It is almost 200 years that they were continuously persecuted and live a miserable life.but actually they are from Judea.that only a DNA test can prove.The Noble saint who meditated on the hills with his comrades died and a memorial was built for them which stands still but with a different name.This hills earlier came under the Kerala region and the King of those days had given the Jewish nobles a copper plate with a decree to settle in any area of their choice and also gave them powers to live like a noble.The first place they pitched their tent was named Hebron then and even unto this day it is called by the same name.Many Jew have returned after Israel was constituted, but these people who live on the hills they themselves are unaware who they are and where they belong to.Some day they should be gathered with their people is my prayer.
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