Three megalithic dolmens (muniyaras) have been found damaged at Murugan Hill at Marayur. The cap stone of one dolmen has been completely destroyed.
Murugan Hill hosts a large number of dolmens and some of them were destroyed earlier too. Marayur panchayat president Usha Henry said police and village authorities had been informed about it and steps needed to be taken to protect the remaining dolmens. In recent times, dolmens at Pius Nagar near Kovilkadavu were also found destroyed.
The Idukki district panchayat is on a project “Discovering Idukki”, to protect the dolmens and burial urns (nanangadies) and open a heritage museum at Painavu. T. Rajesh, the officer in-charge of the project, said that it was due to the lack of awareness among the people destruction of dolmens took place and it has been found that people take away the stone slabs for personal need, without realising their historical importance.
He said that an awareness campaign would be launched as part of the project and a core team of historians created to prevent destruction of the dolmens.
A 10-member team from the Pune-based Deccan College of Archaeology is slated to visit Marayur and conduct studies and excavations.
In 1974, a survey conducted by S.Padmanabhan Thampi found over 2,000 dolmens in the Marayur belt. However, a survey conducted by the Marayur grama panchaat two years ago found that only 621 dolmens remained.