Tirupati’s Megalithic Burial Sites

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    • Most of the megalithic burial sites in Tirupati are found to be in a state of neglect.

    More about the news

    • Tirupati district is dotted with anthropomorphic burial sites, said to be the largest as a collection in Andhra Pradesh.
    • Anthropomorphic sites are those marked by a representation of human form above the megalithic burials. 
    • However, most of them are in a state of neglect, with neither the government nor the local residents caring to protect what could become a cherished heritage.

    More about the Megalithic structures in the region

    • Significance of the region:
      • Compared to other districts, the erstwhile combined Chittoor district (Tirupati district was carved out of it in April 2022) has an array of megalithic structures, found almost in every mandal. 
      • This could be an indication to the presence of humans living in groups during the megalithic period (300–500 BC) in this region.
    • Mallayyagaripalle’s ‘pillared dolmen’:
      • Location:
        • The most prominent one is the ‘pillared dolmen’ of the megalithic era, found at Mallayyagaripalle, nestling on a hillock between Chandragiri and Dornakambala, 20 km from Tirupati. 
      • Timeline:
        • The structure locally referred to as ‘Pandava Gullu’ or ‘Pandavula Banda’ in memory of the Pandavas, is estimated to be 2,500 years old.
      • Burial chamber:
        • The Mallayyagaripalle structure is a cist burial chamber.
        • Such chambers are built by arranging slabs neatly broken from huge stones at a time when there were no proper tools.
    • Monument at Kullur:
      • There is another endangered megalith monument in Palem village near Kallur, which resembles a bull’s horn. 
      • It is locally called as ‘Devara Yeddhu’.
    • Other:
      • A menhir: a tall or grand structure erected in memory of a dead person – found at Boyapalle.
      • ‘Slab circles’: An arrangement of three or seven slabs in a circular fashion, found in Eguva Gunthalacheruvu of Annamayya district.

    Challenges faced by these megalithic monuments

    • The pillared dolmen with rock art beneath the capstone at Mallayyagaripalle came under threat owing to granite mining in the vicinity. 
    • The sites have suffered repeated damage due to clandestine excavation by treasure hunters. 
    • Also, the neglect around few sites are indicative of official apathy like,
      • Fixing of Electric posts very close to the site,
      • The installation of a mobile tower, etc

    Megaliths

    • It is a huge, often undressed stone used in various types of Neolithic (New Stone Age) and Early Bronze Age monuments.
    • Works about the megalithic people’s staunch belief in life after death and the travel embarked by soul to other worlds.
      • The megalithic people used to keep food and tools inside the chamber for use by the dead person which is indicative of this belief.

    Source: TH