Sacred groves are an important component of spiritual life in rural Tamil Nadu. Local deities can be venerated here away from the prying eyes of outsiders.
These are no clear physical boundaries demarcating these forests but the concept of social fencing ensures that they are protected. Many of these sites are havens for wildlife in densely populated and cultivated areas.
Today, threats include a lack of interest among young people to continue centuries-old traditions, as well as the appropriation of common land by the state and private sector for development.