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Rare megalithic site under threat of encroachment in Telangana

Even in 2009, hundreds of stone alignments were removed by the villagers who had used 200-300 truckloads of soil from there to construct houses.

Published: 11th October 2021 09:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th October 2021 09:55 AM   |  A+A-

The stone alignment destroyed at the Mudumal megalithic site in Narayanpet.

The stone alignment destroyed at the Mudumal megalithic site in Narayanpet.

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The ancient megalithic burial site spread over 80 acres on the banks of Krishna river in Mudumal village of Krishna mandal in Narayanpet district has been the rarest of sites having archaeo-astronomical importance in the world. Though three acres of land was protected by the erstwhile Mahabubnagar district administration and the site was made a protected monument under the Heritage Department, conversion of those lands for agricultural activity has been causing colossal damage to what is left of the site.

In the early 2000s, Professor KP Rao from the Department of History, University of Hyderabad, had studied the site extensively and presented several papers on his findings at international forums. Rao had found cup-marks (indentations of 4 cm diameter) on a stone erected at an elevated position at the site. The cup-marks had startling similarities with the ‘Great Bear constellation,’ also known as ‘Ursa Major,’ and the ‘Saptarshi mandal’ (Big Dipper), along with other stars usually seen in the sky. He observed that while a line drawn to connect Merak and Dubhe, the two stars located at the top of Ursa Major, pointed to the pole star in the north, the same held true for the marking too.

At the site, 80 tall menhirs (10-14 ft tall) and thousands of small menhirs (below 1 m height) are placed in rows facing different directions, with stone circles and cists (ancient burial chamber made from stone) forming a part of the burial site.

“Our observations during the summer and winter solstices had revealed that each row was planned in such a way that it gets aligned to the sun at a specific time and date. If one row gets aligned in the morning, another row gets aligned in the evening. This complex alignment was likely planned in such a manner that it was possible to determine the commencement of seasons or work out a sort of a calendar based on the sun’s positioning with these monuments,” KP Rao told Express.

Humans pose danger to site   

While it could have taken decades or even centuries for the burials to be formed by outstanding efforts of humankind, it took less than a day to dig out around three acres recently, and remove the stone alignments in the land, for which pattadar passbooks were given in 2010. Even in 2009, hundreds of stone alignments were removed by the villagers who had used 200-300 truckloads of soil from there to construct houses.



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