UNEXPLORED:A view of the cairns at Doddamalte village in Kodagu.

Madikeri: Antique cairns that have been sighted in a few places in Kodagu have so far remained a mystery. One of the sites where a number of such structures are found is at Doddamalte village, close to the picnic spot of Honnammanakere, in Somwarpet taluk of Kodagu district.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which had conducted a survey of the area a couple of years ago, had concluded them as megalithic burial monuments. These are called cairns. These cairns remain at the ground level or in some cases their tops crop out of the ground a little bit. They resemble a stone chamber about six or seven-foot long, three-and-a-half to four-foot wide and about four to five-foot in height. In some cases, granite pillars raised at four corners are surmounted by a granite slab.
These burial structures, which could date back to 2,500 to 3,000 years, (megalithic period) appear either as solitary structures or in groups or in columns at Doddamalte village. One could surely conclude that human civilisation thrived at that age in Kodagu. However, not much of an effort has gone into the mystery to ascertain what exactly those cairns contained, residents of Doddamalte, who call the spot as “Pandva Pare”, say.
There are two hillocks towards both ends of Honnammanakere, one of the popular picnic spots in Kodagu, near Somwarpet town. The hillock towards left of the Honnammanakere temple has these megalithic burial monuments.
Shivanand, a resident of Somwarpet, says the ASI did take up some kind of survey of the area two years ago, but nothing happened afterwards. The areas had rich deposits of granite. Quarrying took place in one portion of the hillock but it had now stopped, he told The Hindu.
Legend also has it that the Pandavas, celestial heroes of the yore, travelled the place and stayed at the spot by which the name Pandava Pare was derived.
According to another version, people who dug up the Honnammanakere did not get water. Water came in abundance only after human sacrifices were made. Those bodies were buried at Pandava Pare. Whichever theory is correct, the ASI has failed to protect these monuments, including fencing, leave alone ascertaining the facts.
The ASI had two circles in the State, one at Dharwad and another in Bangalore. These monuments came under the purview of the Mysore sub-circle of the ASI.
Similar sites were found at Bavali village in Madikeri taluk ( The Hindu reported it two years ago) and also in some places such as Kedamullur in Virajpet taluk.
According to information gathered here (from the Gazetteer of Coorg), one such cairn was first noticed in Kodagu in 1856 and several others were found near Virajpet in 1868 and also near Fraserpet (now Kushalnagar) later.

The first-ever find of a celt (pre-historic chisel-edged stone tool) or a "stone hatchet," in Karnataka was made in 1868 at the crest of a hill six km north of Mercara (Madikeri) in Coorg (Kodagu), according to the Assistant Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), C.B. Patil.
The celt was found by H.A. Mangles in the Cauvery valley, where he found fragment of a stone hatchet.
He communicated this to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta (Kolkata), and it was handed over the Indian Museum in Calcutta later, he said. Mr. Patil is here in connection with a programme to create awareness on conserving monuments, taken up by the ASI and the National Service Scheme (NSS).
J. Coggin Brown, who catalogued the pre-historic collection in the Indian Museum, documented this implement with accession number 994 as a "celt with upper part missing, having a sharp crescentic edge, fashioned on smoothed diorite."
Therefore, the theory that the first-ever Neolithic celt in the State was found in Ligsugur of Raichur district is not true, Mr. Patil said. The Neolithic age extended approximately between 2500 B.C. and 1000 B.C.
Neolithic site
According to the publications of M. Taylor, who undertook investigation of the Megaliths, it was evident that no Neolithic artefact or a site was discovered and reported in India till his publications of Megaliths appeared in 1851, 1852, and the one presented later to the Royal Irish Academy on May 12, 1862. The view of many scholars that the discovery of the first Neolith stone axe (celt) was made by Capt. Meadows Taylor at Lingsugur in Raichur in 1842 is not correct, says Mr. Patil.
The first-ever Neolithic habitation site or settlement was discovered in Bellary in Karnataka in 1872. It was William Fraser, a district engineer stationed at Bellary, who discovered the habitation in Bellary in the Tungabhadra valley. The finding was commended by Robert Bruce Foote, who is called as the "Father of Indian Pre-history."


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