Where We Work?
Kolli Hills is located on a plateau surrounded by dense, semi-evergreen, deciduous forest on Eastern ghats. This landscape is inhabited by a homogeneous tribal community called Malai Alis (Malai means Hill, and Alis means Dwellers). It has 14 village panchayats and an estimated total population of 42,200 people. Tribals constitute 95% of the population. The climate supports a luxuriant growth of vegetation in the hill ranges.
Kolli Hills are historically famous for medicinal plants. Even the most common medicinal plants acquire a special value when grown here, as the medicinal plants from Kolli Hills are generally considered to be more potent and effective. It is believed that the Siddhars (ancient medicine men) lived, researched and meditated here in the caves inside the sacred groves. However, according to the local people, the medicinal plants are becoming increasingly rare in forests.
Valuable Traditional Health Practices
The native medicinal system was once well recognized by the Kolli Hills community. A vast knowledge of how to use the plants against different illnesses still exists among the traditional healers of Kolli Hills but modern medicine has largely displaced this wealth of indigenous health sciences. The people are therefore without access to sustainable healthcare and treatment.
Kolli Hills has been chosen as the pilot area for implementation of AYUSH-Isha because of its long history in the use of traditional health systems, which has been lost only recently. With focused and dedicated effort, the natural, indigenous systems of healthcare can be revitalized and preserved.