Dolmens of Moodabidri

May 26, 2009

Few know that the historical town of Moodabidri is also famous for prehistoric artifacts -   The Dolmens or Megalithic tombs. A dolmen is a type of burial site of prehistoric homo sapiens. Typically a dolmen consists of a single chamber which is closed on all sides with granite slabs. There will be a large hole on the slab facing east. Dolmens are generally regarded to belong to the Neolithic period (4000 to 3000 BC). Hardly anything more is known about them.

The dolmens of Moodabidri are situated on a remote hill close to the famous twin peaks of Konaje Kallu. In fact Konaje Kallu provides a majestic backdrop to the dolmens. Locally they are known as ‘Pandavara Kallu’, as they are traditionally believed to have been built by the Pandavas during their period of exile. Their prehistoric origin came to light only recently.

Dolmen – with Konaje Kallu in Backdrop

Entrance Hole facing east

Inside view

 Undergrowth causing damage

Ruins of Destroyed Dolmens

Vandalized wall of Dolmen

Less than two decades back, there were said to have been 7-8 dolmens. Today only two remain in tact. The rest have been reduced to rubble, due to mishandling and vandalizing. If no protective measures are taken, even the two remaining dolmen may soon disappear. 

There are many dolmen sites all over the world. In Europe they are found mainly in France, Ireland, Denmark and Germany. In Asia, Korea has the largest number. In India, a cluster of dolmens have been observed at Marayoor, a small village in Kerala. Moodabidri is one of the few Dolmen sites in India. Their presence at Moodabidri indicates that this region has been colonized by man for thousands of years. It is said that there were a few more Dolmens at ‘Pandavara Kallu’, a village near Belthangady and they were destroyed to make way for a road!

It is sad to see that no care has been taken to protect these priceless monuments. These graves of our ‘uncivilized’ ancestors, which have withstood the onslaught of rain and storm for thousands of years have today fallen prey to mindless destruction by their ‘wiser’ descendents.  It is time the authorities woke up to the reality and took steps to protect these relics.  

By Mahesh Nayak <br>Photos: Manju Neereshwallya
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Comment on this article

  • Farhat, Russia

    Sun, Oct 25 2015

    The dolmens and other megaliths (pyramids, cromlechs, and others) were built for defense. Read more

  • sharon, mangalore

    Fri, May 29 2009

    I am truly impressed Mahesh! Great piece,and you must be congratulated for spreading the word about the Dolmens.

  • R. Shetty, Beladi, Karnataka/ Bahrain.

    Fri, May 29 2009

    We talk lot about tourism. We all know India is big and very old civilized country. We have lot of man made or natural tourism places, but we Indian do not know the value of these places. Also, we or our governments are can not or not willing to maintain as tourism place. Only way-out is, administrations should recognize these places and lease by auction all the tourist places for 5 to 10 year to privet sector, so it can be well developed and maintained also promoted as tourist place. It will be benefited to government as well locals too.

  • Good research, Mangalore/Chennai

    Thu, May 28 2009

    Mahesh, As Rohit said, many would have passed via that route, but none noticed or no one was aware that its a dolemen! Good research. Hope to find more such researches from you.

  • Shahtaj Shaikh, Mangalore

    Thu, May 28 2009

    Beautiful is not only word for this magnificient place. I hope this will last  forever  so that even our future generations get to see it.

  • John D''Souza, Moodbidri / Kampala

    Thu, May 28 2009

    Beautiful pictures, Mahesh. They brought back nostalgic memories of my growing up in Moodbidri.

  • vinay, mangalore

    Thu, May 28 2009

    There is one beautiful small temple inside the rock when climbing to this place . Mahesh you missed it in your coverage.

  • Rajesh, Bantwala

    Wed, May 27 2009

    wow... very nice place

  • Kath, California, USA

    Thu, May 28 2009

    Strange that one should call these burial sites those of "prehstoric Homo Sapiens". They are very commonly known in Europe, Russia and South America as well as in Persia as burial sites of ancient Celtic people. The Celts hailed from India and China. They were known as veteren ancient mariners and Siddhis (Scythis). Cities were built and named after them. They are the forebears of modern Inidans, Chinese et al. Homo Sapiens is simply a term for Celts.

  • Praveen Lobo, New York

    Thu, May 28 2009

    Mahesh, This is amazing! did you discover these dolmens? I agree with Rohit. It would be great if the Indian Archaeological Society or a similar competent organization carbon dates these dolmens to confirm their age and authenticity. Great work Mahesh.

  • Max & Jessie Rasquinha, Mangalore/Houston, Tx

    Wed, May 27 2009

    Dear Mahesh, Many thanks for sharing with us the historical background of Dolmens of Moodabidri. This history is the first of its kind I am learning from you about the town of Moodibidri. During our next trip to Allanghar Church close to Moodibidri where we obediently visit to listen to the beautiful Sunday choir, we shall make it a point to visit the Dolmens ruins. By the way, are you the same "famous Mahesh", our prominent Toastmaster of Winners Club who also was the first Maiden Toastmaster Speaker of Mangalore???

  • Rohit S. Rao, Mangalore

    Thu, May 28 2009

    Hey Mahesh, Good research and wonderful coverage. I have been visiting this place since 1989,mainly to trek up to the twin peaks of Konaje Kallu or Kodanje Kallu.I did not know about these Dolmens. I am sure I have passed these stones. Has anybody done any Carbon Dating on these stones to identify the period ?? Good work, Rohit

  • Somashekara Hulakoti, Gulbarga/Mangalore

    Wed, May 27 2009

    Kakkebeedu in Bantwal also has Dolmains and Boodihal in Gulbarga too has a few

  • John Martin, Mangalore/Dubai

    Wed, May 27 2009

    What a pity.. when I asked a friend of mine who is born and brought in Moodbidri is not aware of this historic place. He has heard about it. but never been/seen that location... Thanks Daiji for the coverage..

  • Jaimini P.B., Manipal,Sharjah

    Wed, May 27 2009

    Our Government whether BJP or Congress ,don''t care about historical places/beaches etc.etc..Tourism doing nothing .St.Mary''s Island at Malpe,Udupi is World''s 2nd best Island.I don''t think even our own people visited this beautiful place.People go to Europe,Africa,Mauritius,Seychells..but they are not aware of St.Mary''s Island.

    I tell you one embarassing incident happened 3 months back. My sister in law who is a teacher at Chinmaya english medium school,Kasargod came to Udupi with her colleauges (65 people).Believe it or not,they cancelled Maplpe beach program ..reason ..everywhere SHIT ..SHIT (Supervisor already visited and cancelled).People only blame Government..At least someone has to raise voice..I think Mangloreans don''t have that VOICE !!

  • Manohar Veigas, UDUPI

    Thu, May 28 2009

    Interesting article by Mahesh Nayak. Indeed, it proves how rich our civilisation was. By protecting such monuments only, we will be able to study the activites of mankind thousands of years ago.

  • haneef, pandeshwar mangalore

    Tue, May 26 2009

    good monument ... it should have been built and have a public historical article... so tourists should have good time to see it..

  • J M Bhandary, Mangalore/ USA

    Wed, May 27 2009

    A very interesting and important article. These rare historic sites should be preserved carefully (I guess the question is by who?). These are the precious and rare links that will help to understand the long history of coastal Karnataka. There is very little real ancient historic details currently available of this area. Congratulations to the writer and the photographer on publishing this aricle.

  • a.v.a, blore

    Tue, May 26 2009

    We are proud to call ourselves Hindus and have been raising a big hue and cry about the decay of our culture politically and socially and yet we neglect our old cultures. So what culture are we protecting that which evolved around the turn of the last two centuries and the gods we embrassed of late.

  • Mallya Vishwanath, Moodbidri/Bangalore

    Tue, May 26 2009

    Though I am from Moodbidri I was not aware of this monument, but I have seen similar in Borakatte, close to Karkal, they call it as "Pandav Pade (stone) "

  • vishwa, mangalore\usa

    Tue, May 26 2009

    Good article Mahesh, I visited pandvar kallu a decade back when we had NCC camp in mahveer college and they used to take us there for fire practice and tracking. I used to be amazed by the beauty of these rocks. I am also happy to learn that there are historic site and habitate proof. exist in mangalore area. Other wise known as new land( parashuram strusty) and lot of people decended from north through narrow konkan and also through the ship.

  • vinay, mangalore

    Tue, May 26 2009

    wow.... very nice place had been there lot of time when studying in moodbidri.

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