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
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.