On maps and official records, Manapachi figured as a ‘tribal hamlet’ in the Chinna Kalarayan Hills. In reality, all that remained was a ghost village — with dilapidated huts, carcasses of livestock, pets and bags of grain and household utilities left behind by its former inhabitants.
The official machinery has been in the dark as to why Manapachi’s 400-odd residents slowly started leaving, over the years. Tucked away at a remote location on the hills, Manapachi’s boundaries extended over three districts-- Dharmapuri, Salem and Namakkal.
This according to tribal activists, could have led to the hamlet being neglected by the official machinery and subsequently, the exodus of its inhabitants. Pechiappan (72), a farmer from Manivizhundhan, located 15 km away, recalled that the tribal inhabitants of Manapachi predominantly were engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry. Natesan, another elder from Manivizhundhan, also the closest habitation to Manapachi, pointed out that Manapachi villagers excelled in folk art and used to be invited to other villages to perform during festivals.
“Over the years, they stopped coming because the hamlet lacked basic amenities,” says Natesan. Attur Thaisildhar N Thangaraj said that on Tuesday, he sent a team to investigate and report about Manapachi.