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Porivarai Workshop is a community-led initiative located in the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, and supported by The Nilgiris Foundation
Porivarai community club was started by twenty youths from an Irula village called Karikkaiyur as a community club. The club’s goal is to spread awareness about the culture, traditions, art, and music of the Irula tribe.
The Porivarai Workshop is a space for the community club. It has initiated several activities, including beekeeping, foraging, organic farming, bamboo crafts and artwork, traditional musical instrument making, and teaching traditional music to the youth of the village. All these activities are deeply rooted in the local community.
The name “Porivarai” comes from an ancient rock painting located near the village that is popular among visitors who are interested in indigenous communities and ancient history.
The Porivarai Workshop is extensive and well-equipped for the community activities of the Irulas in Karikkaiyur
The scope of activities of the Porivarai community club continued to grow since its inception in 2018. This called for better facilities like access to electricity and a comprehensive space that could house the club’s activities.
The Nilgiris Foundation decided to step in and fundraised for the community club. This culminated in the Porivarai Workshop that opened its doors to the community in April 2023.
Porivarai Workshop was built using mud, grass, and bamboo – the same way Irula ancestors built their homes – in an eco-friendly way. The Irula members came together to build it. A tiled roof was constructed to facilitate electricity.
This club will be the hub for all its activities including an array of craftworks, musical instruments, photographs, maps, and other items related to the activities.
Kwol, a local community radio station passes on the traditions orally
The workshop also runs a community radio channel named “kwol” after a local Irula musical instrument. Kwol broadcasts traditional music and ancient Irula stories to keep alive the Irula culture’s rich history.
The Nilgiris Foundation’s commitment to eco-development initiatives in the Nilgiris
The Porivarai Workshop is aligned with The Nilgiris Foundation’s other project, The Nilgiris Wild Food Festival. Both projects focus on promoting and preserving indigenous tribes’ traditions, sustainable and wild food, and eco-development practices.
The first edition of the Nilgiris Wild Food Festival was organized in 2022, and a significant portion of the proceeds from funds raised during the festival went towards building the Porivarai Workshop.