Sacred forests and groves in the West Ghats – Karnataka and Kerala

Niramkarachi Rai - the sacred grove at Nanode, Sattari - Pic by Mohan Pai

Niramkarachi Rai - the sacred grove at Nanode, Sattari - Pic by Mohan PaiSacred Groves

Forests have been the lifeline for tribals and other forest dwelling communities since distant past. Communities have been setting aside certain patches of land or forest dedicated to a deity or village God, protected and worshipped called Devachirai in Goa. […]

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Date Visited: Sat Aug 27 2011 11:39:13 GMT+0200 (CEST)

Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic times

The earliest human settlement in the Western Ghats have been traced back to the Palaeolithic or the Old Stone Age period – over 10,000 years BC.

Stone tools were discovered from the river valleys of Bharatpuzha (Palghat district), Beypur (Malappuram district) and Netravathi basin (Dakshina Kannada district).

Palaeolithic artifacts have been found at Kibbanahalli (Mysore district), Lingadahalli and Kadur (Chickmagalur district) and Honnalli (Shimoga district). […]

Read the historical details and view the photographs on environmentalist Mohan Pai’s blog >>

Sacred Forests

Forest clearance was inevitable for farming and yet, there was an overwhelming belief in the sacredness of the woods. Secondary species and heavily savannized tracts were interspersed with lofty evergreen patches, the menasukans or pepper forests, where the people tended to the wild pepper. The relics of such kans occur to this day in Uttara Kannada and Shimoga. They were important tracts of pre-colonial forest conservation in the Western Ghats. Myriad relics of such groves, exist even today all over the Western Ghats. They may be called Devrai in Maharashtra, Devarkadu in Kodagu and Kavu in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, these forests in pre-colonial landscape, served many functions like the conservation of biodiversity and watershed, moderation of climate and promoted varied wildlife.

Source: The Western Ghats: Ecological Past
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Date Visited: Sat Aug 27 2011 11:35:07 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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