21st Nov 2020

Dolmens of Krishnagiri 🗿🗻

Photo of MALLACHANDRAM DOLMENS  KRISHNAGIRI 🗿⚱🗿 1/1 by DeePassionateWanderer

Plopped up on my couch enjoying a lazy day (most days are…he he he😛😁 😋) I came across a word ‘’Dolmen’’ – Ahh ! Dolmens ! What are they?! …the article said that ‘megalithic dolmens are the main attraction in some parts of Europe and UK’. A tiny bulb glowed inside my head – I remembered seeing a place named Mallachandram Dolmens, two weeks back when I was planning to climb the Krishnagiri Fort to explore the ruins.

Day 1

A quick search surprised me with their antiquity – Megalithic age, Neolithic era, iron age, pre iron age….in simple terms more than 4000 years ago ! That’s something really antediluvian and archaic! Oh wow! And so much closer to home. Google search did not yield more information on the Krishnagiri ones. Why ? Shouldn’t these be on the protected monument list of ASI ? (Archaeological Society of India).

Photo of Mallachandram dolmen, Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, India by DeePassionateWanderer

Some theories call these as ‘’dwellings of dwarfs’’ while some others state that they were ‘’burial chambers of prehistoric civilians’’. The locals referred to these as ''ancient temples''. The dolmens are 3 ft– 4 ft in dimension on all the sides. I was totally intrigued and eagerly waited for the rain gods to give us a break!  With two more guys willing to join, the five of us started on the early hours, cruising through NH 44, with heavy dark clouds scaring us! Google map link for you reference

Google maps took us almost closer to the spot, while the locals guided us in the right direction. The hillocks lie well inside complete wilderness and shrubbery, thick and overgrown due to incessant rain. There are no boards or markings to guide you. A sickle would have helped a great deal, but Abhi had carried a heavy, foldable lathi…hmmm smart! We let him lead the way….The trek through the jungle path was exciting and short – soon we were in a wild meadow with hillocks on all sides….

Photo of MALLACHANDRAM DOLMENS KRISHNAGIRI 🗿⚱🗿 by DeePassionateWanderer

We explored the area to get near the hills and ascended one of them...disappointed😥..... completely damaged dolmens! We tried another had quite a few, some in good condition while few are in ruins. Dolmens have vertical gratine slabs on four sides covered by a top stone. Few dolmens had a circular opening / window on the side. We noticed few figurative cave paintings resembling a man hunting an animal. In one area, a bigger, double stoned dolmen was surrounded by 12 smaller ones - could that be a leader and his fellowmen around ?!

Photo of MALLACHANDRAM DOLMENS KRISHNAGIRI 🗿⚱🗿 by DeePassionateWanderer

The view from the top of the hills was amazing. Several verdant rolling hills and slopes with white washed houses in between made up a pretty picture. There were more dolmens on an adjacent hill for which we could not find a way through the undergrowth.

Photo of MALLACHANDRAM DOLMENS KRISHNAGIRI 🗿⚱🗿 by DeePassionateWanderer

It was heart warming to notice that the hills, trail paths and nature were litter-free and the Dolmens have not been vandalised. Around 100 of them stand strong even to this day, though many have crumbled, mostly by forces of nature. Our future generations will get to see these Neolithic creations only if measures to protect, preserve and maintain them are undertaken.

Photo of Krishnagiri fort trekking trail, Hakeem Syed Shah Mohiddin Street, Jakkappan Nagar, Old Pet, Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, India by DeePassionateWanderer

Our next stop was Murugan Idli Hotel, a popular restaurant serving south Indian vegetarian food, to satisfy our hunger pangs after all the explorations, located bang on NH 44, just before we reach Krishnagiri. With a profusion of places to explore, Krishnagiri in Tamilnadu, is just 90 kms from Bangalore and makes for an ideal day trip.

With bellies filled with yummy food, we reached Krishnagiri Fort - A real strong one, strategically located on top of a steep hill . Built in 16th century by King Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar Empire, the region was named Krishnagiri after its ruler. Later the Fort came under the reign of Sultans, Marathas, Moghuls and British during its rich and long history.

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Photo of Krishnagiri fort trekking trail, Hakeem Syed Shah Mohiddin Street, Jakkappan Nagar, Old Pet, Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, India by DeePassionateWanderer

We spent several hours huffing, puffing and climbing the steep stairs and boulders to reach the top......and were utterly disappointed! Few ruined outer walls and dilapidated structures welcomed us. Poorly maintained fort, with nothing much to explore - You can easily skip this one! Not worthy of all the effort and time spent.

Photo of Mallachandram dolmen, Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, India by DeePassionateWanderer

The mesmering view of Krishnagiri town at our feet with the wide waters of Krishnagiri Dam at a far distance, bordered by mountains made a pretty picturesque view. We clicked on and on to our heart's content, slowly returned to the car and drove around some smaller roads through the villages - just as heavy drops started falling from the rained and rained and rained 😣😕....A roadside eatery attracted our attention with hot, hot pakoras (medhu pakoda in tamil) and steaming paniyarams (cooked rice dumplings) being cooked on an earthen stove using firewood, the age old method.

Photo of MALLACHANDRAM DOLMENS KRISHNAGIRI 🗿⚱🗿 by DeePassionateWanderer

The steaming food tasted heavenly on a wet, windy afternoon. We proceeded on our journey after the small break and reached KRP Reservoir/ Krishnagiri Dam built across Thenpennai River in the year 1957, mainly to facilitate irrigation needs. The Dam has boating, beautiful gardens, children play area but entry was closed to visitors. Nevertheless, we could enjoy the view of the reservoir from other sides along with the eight crest type spillways. Fresh fish stalls are dotted on the perimeter of the lake.

Photo of Krishnagiri Dam, Tamil Nadu by DeePassionateWanderer

You can include a visit to Parshwa Padmavathi Jain Temple, a beautifully maintained Jain shrine just off NH 44 towards Sadhanpalli, incase you want to skip Krishnagiri Fort. The google link for the shrine

The return journey was long and tiring with rains and the infamous Bangalore traffic testing our patience. Embark on this quick road trip, during a weekend, for an interesting day out. Cheers ! 😊🧐

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