Kerala

Dolmens of Anchunadu in peril

A view of the dolmens at the Murugan hills in  Marayur in Idukki district.

A view of the dolmens at the Murugan hills in Marayur in Idukki district. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Dolmens, a historical landmark of the Anchunadu valley, are in peril due to unrestricted entry to sites and lack of initiatives for their protection.

The main concentration of dolmens are in the Murugan hills at Marayur and Anappara at Kanthallur grama panchayat. These are in addition to many spread over a wide area, including the forests in the Anchunadu valley.

Though there were local initiatives to protect the dolmens some years ago, the situation has now changed with easy access to the sites and anti-social elements damaging them, especially those in the Murugan hills.

Local residents had earlier removed capstones of the dolmens out of ignorance.

Though two security personnel have been deployed by the Archaeological department at the Murugan hills and fencing done to a few dolmens, it has been found inadequate to save the monuments.

As per studies, the dolmens of Anchunadu valley are up to 5,000 years old and are the most evident remains of a society of the prehistoric era. In 2017, the department took over the control of the dolmens as monuments and marked the area. Now they are in abandoned condition.

Marayur grama panchayat had a plan for a Megalithic park at the site and initiatives were taken to protect them in 2013-14. However, it was abandoned after the Archaeological department took over the sites.

Marayur grama panchayat president Usha Henry says “trespassing is a problem now as no one is there to protect the dolmens. The panchayat committee will take a decision and a proposal for protection of the monuments with the support of the police will be evolved”.

E. Dineshan, Director of the Archaeological department, says the two main sites of dolmens in Anchunadu have great importance and initial works had been drawn up with a long-term plan to protect them. However, there was a land issue as some title deeds had been given inside the protected sites.

A letter was given to the District Collector, for which no replay had been received so far. It is true that the dolmens face a threat due to easy access there, he says.

A technical team of the Archaeological department will visit the sites in July and evolve a plan to permanently protect them. If the sites are not completely fenced due to the issue of land ownership, individual protection of dolemens will be taken up, he says.


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Printable version | Jun 23, 2022 1:03:24 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/dolmens-of-anchunadu-in-peril/article65553427.ece