The largest single ethno minority in the Nilgiri District of the NBR, this community numbers approximately 2,00,000. Principally tillers and herdsmen, now the community members are in all walks of life. They are supposed to have come to the Nilgiris, after the break up of the Vijaynagar Empire in 1565 and settled here. After the British came to Nilgiris, it was the Badagas who took to change and modernity. However, even today, they maintain their ethnic distinction which is reflected in language, settlements and costume. The Badagas play an important role in the cultural landscape of the area. They are not classified as `tribe’ by the government, but as `backward class’.