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Ramakkalmedu beckons tourists

Ramakkalmedu is fast emerging as the third most favourite tourism destination in Idukki district with an average of around 1,500 visitors per day, as per an estimate of the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC).

Manoj Babu K. J., DTPC secretary told The Hinduhere recently that most of the tourists were from Tamil Nadu and North India in addition to those from neighbouring districts of the State.

Its location near the main tourism route connecting Thekkady and Munnar is an advantage and foreign tourists too prefer it as a stopover place, he said. Ramakkalmedu provides a panoramic view of vast stretches of Tamil Nadu vegetable farms and is ideal for trekking.

Lying on the border, the main tourist spot is divided between the two States. The DTPC has eight acres of land here and in the first phase of developing Ramakkalmedu, basic facilities will be developed and in the second phase eco-friendly cottages will be built,. According to DTPC unit manager G. Madhu, there is good prospect for developing it as a main trekking spot and a proposal has been submitted in this regard. “The plan is to arrange a one-day trekking package down the grape and vegetable gardens of Tamil Nadu,” he said.

Ramakkalmedu is just 9 km from Kombai in Tamil Nadu and except a 3-km stretch from Adivaram, there is no motorable road. People now walk 3 km to reach Ramakkalmedu. From there it is just a 16 km journey to Nedumkandam on the Thekkady-Munnar road. “If the 3 km stretch is made motorable, it will be the major route for tourist movements,” he said.

Ancient burial urn excavated in Idukki district

he nannangady (burial urn) believed to be of megalithic era recently excavated from a construction site near Ramakkalmedu in Idukki district throw light on the possibility of carbon dating for further studies as there were bone remains found inside it.

The site was located at Thovalappady en route to Ramakkalmedu from Thookkupalam on the side of the Thoovalappady - Manchanmettu road and it is one of the many sites of megalithic remains excavated in the district.

T. Rajesh, historian, who led the excavation said that it was for the first time that the chances of in-depth technical study could be made possible as the bone remains could provide data on the period of the burial urn and it shows that a society which revered the dead and a prominent civilisation existed in the eastern hills of the district.

The Nanangadi is about one metre height and its brim had a diameter of about 12 inches. The top of the urn was covered with a round shaped stone slab. Two small pots looked like coconut and a bowl having a diameter of about eight inches were placed near the urn. A human bone was found in the ‘nannangadi.'

“The red and black pottery is remarkable as it denotes the Dravidian expansion to South India, '' Mr Rajesh said. It was for the first time that a human bone was fond in a nannangadi and this biological element is very important because it will open the window for scientific studies, he said.

He said that the bones collected will be sent for scientific experiments soon.

Megalithic evidences like dolmens (muniyaras), table stones, burial urns and historic stones believed to be of BC 1050 and AD 300 was discovered at various locations in the eastern parts of the district. It is believed that an administrative hierarchy in Keezhmalanadu with a supporting civilisation existed in the interior areas of the present Thodupuzha spread over the Western Ghats.

Dr P.J. Cherian, director of the Kerala Council for Historical Research, who has transferred the details of the excavation told The Hindu that the Pattanam excavation had opened the windows for further study of the valuable historical remains in Idukki district too. Though broadly they have been classified, it needs specific study to conclude the period of each historical remains, he said.

“Burial urns and dolmens are mortuary remains of a society and it is true that a civilisation spreading its roots to the interior areas remained in the district,'' he said and added that serious studies needed into the complex architecture of the megalithic era. These historical remains throw light on the actual life of that period and the practices followed by a society which is different from the other. He said in many areas such remains have been unearthed but a historical map has not been prepared so far. He said that the main features of these remains were similar but there are lots of changes, which need in-depth analysis.

The Idukki district administration has drawn up a project ‘Discovering Idukki,' in its annual budget for 2011- '12 to protect the megalithic sites and initiate studies into them. It also plans to open a megalithic museum at the district headquarters in Painavu for collection and preservation of the historical remains excavated in the district.

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