• June 7, 2021

Guide to Megalithic Dolmens and Rock Paintings in Kerala

Megalithic dolmens

(Also called Muniyaras), these dolmenoid cists belong to the Megalithic. These dolmenoids were burial chambers made of four stones placed on the rim and covered by a fifth stone called the capstone. Some of these Dolmenoids contain several burial chambers, while others have a quadrilateral carved out of laterite and lined on the sides with granite slabs. These are also covered with cap stones. Dozens of dolmens around the area of ​​the ancient Siva temple (Thenkasinathan temple) at Kovilkadavu on the banks of the Pambar River, and cave paintings on the southwestern slope of the plateau overlooking the river have attracted visitors. Aside from the Stone Age dolmens, there are several Iron Age dolmens in this region, especially on the left side of the Pambar River, as is evident from the use of neatly dressed granite slabs for the dolmens. At least one of them has a perfectly circular hole 28 cm in diameter inside the underground chamber. This region has several types of dolmens. A large number of them are above the ground with a height of about 70-90 cm. Another type is 140-170 cm tall. There is a surface dolmen with double length up to 350 cm. Fragments of burial urns are also available in the region near the dolmens. This indicates that the 70-90 cm high dolmens were used to bury the remains of people of high social status. Funerary urns were used for the burial of the remains of the commoners. The raised-roofed dolmens could have been used for human habitation. Why some people lived in cemeteries has not been satisfactorily explained.


Ancient cave paintings are part of the heritage of Marayoor in Attala, Ezhuthu Guha (literally means “cave of writing”), Kovilkadavu and Manala in Marayoor panchayat. Attala is located in the western part of the municipality of Marayoor and here you can see more than 90 painted motifs. The rock paintings of Attala are located in a colossal rock shelter facing east at 1500 meters above mean sea level. Most of the paintings in Attala are abstract abstract art

Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color, and line to create a composition that can exist with a degree of independence from the visual references of the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance to the mid-nineteenth century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and design, except for some human and animal figures.

The Ezhuthu Guha rock paintings are located in the Koodakavu sandalwood reserve forest in Marayoor in Marayoor Panchayat at an elevation of 1000 meters above mean sea level. Here you can see more or less 90 painted motifs. However, as the site is the most famous rock art site in Kerala, it attracts a large number of visitors and has been vandalized since it became public.

Kovilkadavu is less than five kilometers from the city of Marayoor and the place is famous for Neolithic dolmens and cave paintings. Ten painted motifs are found on the southwestern slope of the plateau overlooking the Pambar River.

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