Megalithic Burial Site Discovered in Kodagu
Madikeri: South India is known for its fabulous hoary past of Megalithic culture. It is known by its varied types of burials constructed in mammoth stones.
The resource and labour involved in the construction of Megalithic burials speak of their belief, knowledge of constellations, food and drink, way of life, economy, social status and their technology.
In Karnataka, they are legendary icons for the people, who recognize them by various names like Moriyara Mane, Pandavara kallu, Pandavara Guhe, Pandavara Mane, Kalmane, Paanara Arekallu, Tutukallu, Anekallu and so on.
Kodagu district is also well known for Megalithic culture. In a recent archaeological exploration conducted by Prof T Murugeshi of the department of Ancient History and Archaeology, MSRS College, Shirva, Udupi district, at Siddalingapura-Arasinakuppe in Torenuru village of Somwarpet taluk, a Megalithic site consisting of Menhir, Dolmens, Stone Circles and Cists discovered along with the Megalithic pottery.
Any upright, huge undressed stones standing on or near the burial are generally described as Menhirs. They tend to slightly bend towards a certain direction. The present one under study is 3.15 metres in height and a metre in width. This undressed stone is roughly conical and sharp at the top. It is slightly bent towards the earth and oriented to the west.
Another type of megalithic burials are dolmens. They are commonly found in southern India, including Karnataka. Kodagu is home to dolmens and, accordingly, thousands of them have been reported from the district.
The Dolmen is a square stone house, constructed with four huge stone slabs and covered by a mega capstone. It has a port-hole of about 2 feet on any one of four huge stone slabs. They contain primary or secondary bone remains with potteries.
In Siddalingapura-Arasinakuppe, Prof Murugeshi’s team noticed a complex of dolmens buried in the soil, with each one having its own stone circle. There are 8 dolmens, one of them, quite sadly, has already been disturbed by the local people and converted into a dustbin.
They are located on the west in survey no. 12, further west to which the Baageri hill runs parallel to this burial site.
Previous research on Megaliths in Kodagu:
Moegling, as early as 1856, reported and excavated the dolmens in Arameri village near Alamanda house of Virajpet taluk. In 1867, Col Mckenzie excavated some dolmens located to the west of Virajpet. In 1869, Capt Cole excavated 4 megaliths near Ramaswami kanive.
After Independence, researcher K K Subbayya traced about 1,000 megalithic burials in Heggadehalli of Somwarpet taluk. He excavated four megalithic dolmens at Heggadehalli in 1971.
In 1975, the department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, excavated six megalithic dolmens at the same site. Finally, the directorate of Archaeology and Museums in Karnataka excavated 11 megalithic burials at Heggadehalli in 1995-96.
Siddalingapura-Arasinakuppe Megalithic Potteries:
At Siddalingapura-Arasinakuppe, a new temple of Manjunatha Swamy is under construction. At the time of levelling the ground behind the new temple with earth excavators, the workers chanced upon megalithic stone slabs and potteries.
The potteries included wide opening globular pots of redware, miniature red ware, black and red ware and pyriform black jar.
The aforementioned findings very clearly indicate that the site is a Megalithic one and there is a need for a scientific process of digging to understand the cultural and material aspects of the site in a proper perspective.
The department of Ancient History and Archaeology, MSRS College, Shirva has plans to excavate the site, with a formal permission from the Archaeological Survey of India, says Prof Murugeshi in his media release.
The archaeological exploration is undertaken by the department at the request of Shri Manjunatha Swamy temple renovation committee’s acting president Napanda Muttappa, honorary president Napanda Muddappa, spiritual guide Shri Rajeshnathji of Annapoorneshwari Kshetra, Markanja.
Prof Murugeshi has expressed his gratitude to Dr Showrish Kudkuli, managing trustee, Arya Pratishthana (R), Beltangady for his preliminary information and support.
He is also thankful to the MSRS college principal Prof Vinobnath for his kind encouragement and his students for their keen interest and dedicated support.
(Coordinated by Richard Lasrado)