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23 November 2011
Menhirs discovered in southwestern India

Menhirs (standing stones) from the megalithic Iron Age period have been discovered at several places in southern Karnataka (India). The discovery was made by Prof T. Murugeshi and his team comprising three scholars studying rock art.
     "Due to their gigantic nature and height, they are known as Anekallu (elephant stone), Niliskal (standing stone) or Rakkasakal (demon stone)"” said Prof Murugeshi from the department of ancient history and archaeology of MSRS College in Shirva, Udupi district. "Menhirs have been found in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and even northern Karnataka, but never before in the southern part of the state."
     Previously, some menhirs were found by Dr Narsimhiah and Dr A. Sundara in Baise, Murumba in Malnad region, Prof Murugeshi in Buddhana Jeddu, Nitturu and Kurkal in coastal Karnataka, Dr Hanumana Nayak in Garudanagiri and Banavara, and Dr S.G. Ramdas Reddy in Mandya and Mysore regions.
     South India is known for its megalithic culture which saw burial sites marked with stone circles, cists, dolmens or menhirs. At Gollara Katte, on the southern slope of Chikka Tirupati betta near Arasikere, the biggest menhir is about five metres and the smallest is 1.5 metres tall. They are made of granite, which is found in the Hirekal betta nearby. The bigger one is like a double-edged sword with a sharp tip at the end. The second one looks like a spearhead and the third like a horseshoe. Some had fallen flat on the ground.
     "Dr A Sundara believes the menhirs in Malnad region are from the 1200 BC to 1000 BC period and the Arasikere group between 1000 BCE and 800 BCE," said Prof Murugeshi.

Edited from Bangalore Mirror (21 November 2011)

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