The name 'Nilgiris' means blue hills (Neelam - Blue and giri - hill or mountain) on the first mention of this name was found in Silappadikaram. There is a belief that people in the plain at the foot of the mountains,should have named, Nilgiris, in the light of the violet flowers of kurinji . The earliest reference to the political history of the Nilgiris by W. Francia is the Ganga dynasty of Mysore.
Immediately after the Nilgiris has been transferred to the British in 1789, became a part of Coimbatore district. In August 1868, the Nilgiris was separated from the district of Coimbatore. Breek James Wilkinson, took over the administration of the Nilgiris as Commissioner. In February 1882, the Nilgiris,was made a district and a collector was appointed in place of the Commissioner. On February 1, 1882, Richard Wellesley Barlow, the Commissioner was the first collector of Nilgiris.
The Nilgiris is situated at an altitude of 900 to 2636 meters above MSL.The Nilgiris is bounded on the north by the State of Karnataka in the west of the Coimbatore district, Erode District, South by Coimbatore District and Kerala State and Eastern State Kerala. In Nilgiris District the topography is steep and slippery. Approximately 60% of arable land under rotation slopes ranging from 16 to 35%