Nilgiris in San Francisco is an annual gathering where practitioners, local indigenous people, community leaders will share, learn, experience and bring the Nilgiris story to San Francisco, California, where The Nilgiris Foundation is located.
A team of 7 persons including indigenous people of the Nilgiris, NGO team members, practitioners and community organizers from Keystone Foundation arrived in San Francisco in May 2019 to join forces with Ramya and Rajesh Reddy, creators of the book, Soul of the Nilgiris, to inaugurate the foundation conjunctly with the launch of Soul of the Nilgiris in the United States. For the indigenous members, this was their first trip out of India.
The fundraiser-launch evening at the charming Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, saw a vibrant sharing of wisdom, stories and sustainable practices of the indigenous communities of the Nilgiris, featuring rich imagery and audio-visuals, with conversations and readings led by Pratim Roy, Founder-Director of Keystone Foundation, and Ramya Reddy, author of Soul of the Nilgiris. The programme was inaugurated by foremost Nilgiris anthropologist, Prof. Paul Hockings.
For the Keystone fundraiser, stunning hampers including of a curation of authentic Nilgiris spices and crafts (painstakingly shipped all the way from the Nilgiris and packed in San Francisco!), Soul of the Nilgiris book, and Last Forest (Keystone’s sister concern) signature Nilgiri rock bee honey housed in a limited edition packaging were on sale at the venue.
Gorgeous setting: Allied Arts Guild, Menlo Park, California
Soul of the Nilgiris: A Journey through the Mountains Created over nine years, Soul of the Nilgiris is a labour of love and the story of a place told through a personal tapestry of oral narratives, conversations, writings and over 300 photographs. The book traverses the cultural, ecological, colonial and the now-drastically altered landscape of the Blue Mountains situated in the Western Ghat region of southern India, while attempting to draw attention to the lives of its indigenous people and the synergistic way in which they were attuned to the natural world and the dire need to give voice to the relevance of this knowledge in the times we live in.
The book thoughtfully combines prose, photography, design and community involvement – the spines for every one of the 2000 books were hand-embroidered by the Toda women artisans over two years.
All Images: Ramya Reddy
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Peek into the book
Curated with love, our Soul of the Nilgiris hamper includes:
- Soul of the Nilgiris by Ramya Reddy
- Rock bee honey from the remote cliffs of Nilgiris—harvested by the indigenous honey collectors—in limited edition bottles
- Recently harvested, delicately bottled Nilgiri spices: turmeric, wild pepper, mace, green cardamom and cumin
- Hold all pouch hand-embroidered by the Toda women-artisans
- Bookmark featuring the ancient honey collecting ritual hand painted with natural pigments by Kurumba artists.