The word megalith has stemmed from the merger of two Greek terms of "mega" meaning large and "lithic" signifying stone.

Presently the megalithic tribes of India use various structures of stone as burials or memorials of the dead. However in the past megaliths were not only sepulchral/funerary structures but were also used both as memorials of the dead and to commemorate various events of the family and that of the community. Megaliths were found even to be used as boundary markers and also as astronomical structures.

MENHIRS. CHATRA

MENHIRS. CHATRA


Each passing day numerous ancient megaliths get destroyed in India and we have no record of this disaster. It is sad that no government agencies like the ASI, the State Archaeological Depts and the District Administrations demonstrate any interest in their protection perhaps for their tribal origin and also possibly because megaliths to them do not appear to be significant relics of our land.

In actuality prehistoric megaliths are a significant source of our ancient history and their preservation is imperative as these monuments are evidences that India was indeed a land of the tribals in hoary times. A few of them however suggests that astronomy and geometry was known to the megalithic tribals millennias prior to the emergence of the Brahmanical astronomer/mathematicians. Obliteration of prehistoric megaliths is bound to erase this verity.

To view a few photographs of megaliths of India visit:

http://www.megalithsindia.in/2010/11/images-of-megaliths.html

The photographs and essays from this website may be used for research purposes giving credit to it.

Come let’s celebrate megaliths…

HISTORY BOOKS OF JHARKHAND WILL NOW TEACH MY RESEARCH ON MEGALITHS FROM THIS YEAR...now this is some news !!!

UMBRELLA STONES OR KUDAKALLU

UMBRELLA STONES OR KUDAKALLU
KERALA

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

CHAIBASA, the amazing megalith town

by
Subhashis Das


(The poor quality of the snaps is deeply regretted)




This post is in actuality a tribute to Chaibasa, a town in Jharkhand in East India which has been unknowingly celebrating megalithism since many centuries.


Tall menhirs begin to appear once you enter Singhbhum and even you are quite far from the town. And as you come close you can see tall menhirs dotting the countryside.

Such megalithic burials in every Ho courtyard are called sasandiri

This is Ho country. Anthropologically speaking Hos are proto austroloid Kolarian people; a sister tribe of the Mundas and they are a megalithic lot too. They are believed to have entered the region of Singhbhum in South Jharkhand pretty late. Therefore their monuments, the megaliths are assumed to be relatively newer, not going beyond 500/600 years.


Ho homes are pieces of art…thoroughly whitewashed and half of it from the bottom dons beige or black colour produced from seeds. The floors too are painted from the extracts of various seeds. The village women toil to paint their homes every 15 days to keep them sparkling! These white homes dazzle in the sun in the Singhbhum landscape like jewels.

One tall menhir


Enter any Ho house; you are bound to confront megalithic burial slabs in their courtyard. As it is in their courtyards they would bury their ancestors and on it they would place large burial slabs known to them as Sasandiris. Later they would raise tall menhirs in their honour called Bidiris, Biddirs or even Birdiris.


Such large menhirs called Bidiris dot the villages all around Chaibasa

So profoundly megalithic are the Hos that they would raise menhirs to commemorate any event; a major victory in a football game or the birth of girl child or a significant meeting that may have been held or perhaps even for the formation of the Jharkhand state.



Another set of tall menhirs (bidiris) in a village called Baihatu

What exactly is this, a cenotaph ? This strcuture has a North-South orientation

What is unique about this place that majority of the homes have megaliths, it is a living tradition here.  If I had it my way I would have had Chaibasa be declared a heritage town not only for the innumerable megaliths that the region houses but also for continuing the tradition of megalith making since unknown times in an uninterrupted manner.

Know any place like this?

(More in Sacred Stones in Indian Civilization)

©Subhahsis Das 


9 comments:

i am from Chaibasa and watching these things since my childhood . I was unaware about these fascinating heritage . Thanks for featuring them . I feel proud i am part of such heritage .

Marang I am so glad you liked the post. You see megaliths are an incredible heritage of our tribals which even they fail to realize. My attempt is to just take these amazing stone structures to the common man and tell them that they are the truest relics of our country's prehistory. In the process restore the dignity of the tribals for such a heritage...

Dear Subhashish jiyou have really highlighted a beautiful thing.despite spending 25 years of my life in W.Singhbhum,i was unaware about the fact.if possible contact some print or electronic media for coverage.

Dheeraj

Thank you Dhreeraj for your advice...I am already thinking of that.
Keep reading Megaliths of India.
Love and peace
Subhashis Das

proud to be a "ho" and a part of this town of incredible heritage.... during childhood i used to play around these ...but never came to know about this.... thanks for bringing it to light

Thanks to Mr. Subhashis Das to make us knowing about the amazing megalith of Chaibasa (Kolhan). and also support , it must be declare a National heritage town of India.

Excellent work.Thanks for all these amazing posts regarding Megaliths of India.
Abhishek Bose.

Dear Subhashis,
There is a film on adivasi heritage and culture available with PSBT, called "Eer-Stories In Stone", which was made in 2011. I came across this heritage and history while shooting for it. If you're interested in more, you should get a copy of the film.

Cheers,
Mithun

Dear sir,
I liked your blogger page. I was wondering if you researched on how people erected the large menhirs, how they brought these menhirs to the burial place?

I hope you can find these also

Deogam

MEGALITHIC ACTIVITIES IN INDIA

Megaliths of Mizoram:

Blog on Brahmagiri megaliths:


THE PIONEER features "CHOKAHATU MEGALITHS"
First ever song composed on a megalith in India. Rajat Chandra sings on the fascinating megaliths of Punkri Birwadih:

Megalithic burials of the dolmen kind of Andhra Pradesh:

Rare megalithic sites discovered in Chattisgarh:

More than 200 megalithic sites found in Dhamtari and Mahasamund districts of Chattisgarh. Visit:http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/nation/north/rare-megalithic-sites-discovered-chhattisgarh-778