Ancient HistoryGeneral Studies I

Megalithic era cave discovered


A cave was discovered while renovating a temple in Paniyadi in Udupi district, which is assumed to be belonging to the Megalithic era.


Researchers visited the cave and found that it was rock-cut. The cave is about 2000 years old and dates to 800 BC.


  • The discovery is unique in understanding the history of the Phanis. Similar caves have been discovered earlier in coastal Karnataka.

  • Paniyadi is said to be the original habitat of Phanis, who were an indigenous community living in the country. They are also mentioned in Mahabharata and Puranas.

  • Phanis are known for their Naga worship while Naga was also their totemic emblem. Anantha Padbhanabha is the presiding deity of Paniyadi and is related with Naga worship.

Megalithic culture

  • Megalithic cultures are one of the pre-civilization cultures that is distinguished by its large tomb stones. The culture derives its name from Mega (Large) Lith (stone).

  • Megaliths were set up either as burial sites or commemorative memorials by pre-historic people.

  • Many burial sites in Megalithic culture include dolmenoid cists, cairn circles and capstones. They are spread mostly across peninsular India.

  • Megaliths are majorly found concentrated in the states of Maharashtra (especially in Vidarbha), Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

  • Megalithic age ranged from Neolithic Stone Age to the early Historical Period. Historians have indicated megalithic people followed Iron culture.

Cultural practices

  • Megalithic people are known to carry out agricultural activity in both the rabi and kharif seasons. 

  • They have grown variety of grains such as rice, wheat, millet, barley, black gram, horse gram, common pea, pigeon pea etc.

  • Megalithic people are known to have believed in life after death and possibly rebirth. This prompted them to bury people along with goods.

  • Various types of iron artefacts recovered shows that the megalithic people practised different occupations including carpenters, cobblers, bamboo craftsmen, gemstone work, blacksmiths, coppersmiths etc.

  • Bronze images of animals like buffaloes, goats, tigers, elephants and antelopes have been recovered from inside burials at the site of Adichanallur.

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