The Umbrella-Shaped Megaliths of Kerala, India

Megaliths are large stones used to construct a structure or a monument, usually seen built with other stones. The Stonehenge, which is the most popular megalithic structures, isn’t the only example that still exists. There are more than what you can expect built on the different parts of the world. Some are used as tombs, altars, calendars, storage, or some of them remained a huge rock with an unknown purpose.

In India’s state of Kerala, some uniquely-shaped megaliths have been commonly found around the state particularly in these two locations: Chiramanangad and Mangadu. These megaliths are called topikals and kudaikals which looked like massive mushrooms that suddenly popped out from the ground.

These burial megaliths were inspired by the mushrooms called “Soma”, which were used in ritual drinks during the Vedic period . The topikals or umbrella stones were made by digging a pit, putting four stones in it, and covered by a cap-shaped stone. The burial urn was placed in the middle of the underground pit or chamber. The kudaikals are pretty much the same as the topikals though the stones placed on top were larger and looked like umbrellas.

The urns placed inside these burials were often placed with certain items or possessions of the deceased which shows that the people during this time believed in life after death. Special items like pottery, iron, and designed carnelian beads were some of the special items placed inside the megaliths. Studies show that the megalithic culture existed back in 1000 BC to 100 BC.

The megalith locations in Kerala, India had proven to be agricultural sites through the iron objects like long knives and sickles found around the area. The people during that time also created pottery.

If you want to see these strange-looking megaliths, you can visit Chiramanangad’s prehistoric burial site called Kodakuthy Kallu (Kudakallu), or Mangadu which is near Ashtamudi Lake. Both places can be found in Kerala, India.

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