Muniyara in Marayur
The Muniyara Dolmens are magnificent prehistoric dolmens, situated in Marayur, approximately 55 kilometers from Munnar. A fascinating destination for anthropologists and archaeologists from all over the world, Muniyara has remnants of Dolmenoid cists belonging to the Iron Age and Megalithic Age (between 3000 BC and 14000 BC).
These dolmenoids were burial chambers made of four stones placed on edge and covered by a fifth stone called the cap stone. Several sharp edge stones are used in these to cover the burial from all the sides. Some of these Dolmenoids contain several burial chambers, while others have a quadrangle scooped out in late rite and lined on the sides with granite slabs. These are also covered with cap stones. Some of the dolmens here even belong to the Iron Age, which is proven by the smoothed rocky stone slabs that can only be done with iron tools.
Dozens of Dolmens around the area of old Siva temple known as Thenkasinathan Temple, at Kovilkadavu on the banks of the River Pambar, and rock paintings on the south-western slope of the plateau overlooking the river haveattracted visitors. Apart from the dolmens of Stone Age, several dolmens of Iron Age exist in this region especially on the left side of river Pambar as is evident from the usage of neatly dressed granite slabs for the dolmens. At least one of them has a perfectly circular hole of 28 cm diameter inside the underground chamber.
This region has several types of dolmens. Large number of them is over ground with about 70–90 cm height. Another type has a height 140–170 cm. There is an over ground 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 dolmens with 70–90 cm height were used for burial of the remains of people of high social status. Burial urns were used for the burial of the remains of commoners. The dolmens with raised roofs might have been used for habitation of people. Why some people lived in the cemeteries has not been satisfactorily explained.
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