The Megalithic complex of the Nilgiri highlands is well-known to regional archaeologists. It is broadly recognized to be later than the megalithic grave complex that can be found throughout much of South India. Less well known is the huge cemetery complexes along the Nilgiri periphery (Moyar region) which are contemporary with the South Indian Megalithic (ca. 500 B.C.E.). Hundreds of cemeteries and thousands of graves dot the Moyar countryside. Many of these graves are monumental, over 20m in diameter. The grave pictured, northwest of Thangamarahada, is a central grave in a complicated array of graves and former structures.
Grave types vary from simple cairns, to dolmen topped graves, to graves circled by standing stones, some of which have steeple-like appearances.
Bowl:Black polished ware. Heavily coated with baked on mud.
Bowl:Black polished ware.
Hero-stones commemorating those who died in combat are and were venerated in the region. Such monuments at times are accompanied by inscriptions. They depict well-armed units, and occasionally armored horses engaged in battle. They reflect the military activity and state intervention that must have periodically altered the lives of the Nilgiri inhabitants. In the case of the relief above (found in the Kalampaliyam area) the cattle depicted to the left suggests this battle must have involved cattle raiding.
Go to Nilgiri Rock Art
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