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A thick forest ruminates its bygone glories

Tuesday, Sep 1, 2015,19:26 IST By metrovaartha A A A

It is a journey through the bank of Periyar. The dam site on the Pooyamkutty river, a tributary of the Periyar, is submerged in one of the most dense forests in the country. Rich verdant trees reach towards the sky and underneath smaller ones spread their foliage. The undergrowth is thick with vines, shrubs, creepers of every variety. They cover the earth in a thick carpet of several shades of green.
It is a dwelling place of many species of wild animals in its natural habitat. This forest has a majority of the wild elephant population in Kerala. This  journey is in search of historic monuments, time has not rubbed off yet. This was the main route for traders in Chera rulers era. At those times Periyar was known as Poorna or Choornika..The historic monuments of those days lay  scattered on the banks imparting good old time memories.
The journey started from the chelamala forest. According to historians ,as the name indicates this has a connection with Chera kingdom. Believed to be the old fortress of Chera kingdom is now an abode of snakes like King Cobra, Pythons etc.
Stories of Dolmenoid cists
Slowly, slowly we reach Kuttampuzha forest, there a surprise awaits for us..ie Muniyara. Muniyara (dolmenoid cists) is known for its archaeological importance.It is a fascinating location for anthropologists and archaeologists from all over the world.
Literally, this was the resting place of Maharshis built with rocks. But some other version says not only the Maharshis, but the ordinary men too had depended on this for shelter in the stone age. Muniyara has remnants of dolmens belonging to the Megalithic age. Dolmens were burial chambers made of four stones placed on edges and covered by a fifth one called the capstone.
Some of these dolmens contain several burial chambers, others have a quadrangle scooped out in laterite and lined on the sides with granite slabs. These are also covered with capstones. Like the famous dolmenoid cists in Marayoor, some are seen on the banks of Periyar too. Forest encroachment is destroying these ancient precious historic monuments.
To Kotapara forest
Kotapara forest is rich with diversity in plants and species. Plants are in the heights, which indirectly try to tell the sky is the limit to grow. In the midst of Kotapara forest, we can see debris of a temple built by plates of granites. The temple is about 2000 years old, according to conclusions. The architectural richness of the past could be read out from the debris. Archeologists found many years old clay pots and vessels from here.
Weapon house in the midst of forest
By enjoying the smell of the woods, hearing the melody of the forest birds, drinking the pure water only the small pots in a forest can serve… seeing debris of many old temples, temple pots… those trying to say, the views here are endless.. that prompt to move forward. Moving in the depth of the forest… at last reached a mature forest, part of pooyamkutty forest. There is a weapon house in the midst of the dense forest. It is a permanent sanctuary of elephants, tigers.
About 40 years back, the tribal people here found out debris of a temple.The area is known as weapon house when iron debris in the form of knife, arrow, etc. were found from soil collected from places half kilometer away from here. Coins, vessels which were supposed to be used in Sangha era were found out when a search was made by archeologists and the locals few years back.
The journey stop for the time being…. but… more and more to see.. miles and miles to go through the hidden wonders of this mysterious land.

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