The rock paintings at Kumittipathi testify to prehistoric Kongu region

News Excerpt:

Miscreants have damaged the rock art paintings in the cave at Kumittipathi, a village near Coimbatore, by scribbling their names and tracing them with chalk.

About Kumittipathi rock art paintings:

  • These are located in a cave on Pathimalai hill in Kumittipathi village near Coimbatore.
    • The cave contains small pits and holes, which are believed to have been used to store water and other belongings.
  • These cave paintings, believed to be about 3,000 years old, are among the most important rock art sites in the Kongu region.
    • There are also megalithic burial sites in the region. If one links the prehistoric paintings with the megaliths, the art could date back to the 5th Century BCE.
    • All the paintings at Kumittipathi are less likely to be of the same age. The elephant with large tusks, painted in white, is believed to be among the oldest, while a few others could have been drawn later.
  • The artists have used an inorganic white pigment and natural gum to paint the figures.
  • The paintings depict animals, a chariot (some say it is a peacock), human figures, and animals. They tell stories of the lives of prehistoric people of the region, their routines, and culture.
  • Similar rock paintings can be found at Vellarukkam Palayam near Thondamuthur, Viraliyur, and Kovanur in the district, all on hilltops, depicting hunting and other activities.

About Kumittipathi region:

  • It falls in the Palakkad Gap of the Western Ghats, a significant break in the mountain range, which has acted as a corridor between Tamil Nadu and Kerala since ancient times.
    • There were ancient trade routes (Peruvazhi) in the Palakkad Gap between Anamalai and Ayyasamy Malai.

About Kongu region (Kongu Nadu):

  • It is a commonly used name for part of western Tamil Nadu.
  • The term is informally used to refer to a region that includes the districts of Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Karur, Namakkal and Salem, as well as Oddanchatram and Vedasandur in Dindigul district, and Pappireddipatti in Dharmapuri district.
  • The name derives from Kongu Vellala Gounder, an OBC community with a significant presence in these districts.
  • The region includes prominent businesses and industrial hubs at Namakkal, Salem, Tirupur and Coimbatore.

About Megalithic burial sites:

  • According to V. Gordon Childe the term ‘Megalith’ is derived from two Greeks words, megas means large and lithos means stone.
  • In other words, the Megaliths usually refer to the burials made of large stones in graveyards away from the habitation area.


The Kumittipathi cave hosts many prominent rock art paintings. However, these paintings are currently at risk of destruction. Therefore, it is imperative to protect the paintings as they serve as a testimony to our ancient lives and culture, which need to be preserved for future generations.

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