Memorial stones erected in honour of people who died heroic deaths are found all over Karnataka and parts of neighbouring states. Beautifully sculpted, with graphic details about the heroic deed, these Veera Kallus ( Veeragals )often show a moon and a sun in the top panel to indicate the wish that the name of the hero shall shine till the sun and the moon shine in the sky. But sadly, not all Veeragallus have the name inscribed. Only some do.
Veeragallus ( Hero Stones ) are classified according to the nature of the documented death.
Yuddha or Kote Kalaga : hero died in war
Ooralivu : Hero died defending his town/village
Gadi Kalaha : Hero died preventing entry of invaders
Gograhana or Thurugol : Hero died defending cattle during a cattle heist
Pendirudeyurch : Hero died defending honour of women
Bete : Hero died during a hunt.
Memorials similar to Veergallus were also put up for women who comitted sati ( Masti Kallu), for people who voluntarily gave up their lives for a religious purpose or due to loyalty towards master,upon death of their King . Sometimes, when a hero's wife immolates herself on her martyred husband's pyre, a joint memorial called Veeramasti Kallu was erected.
Below are Memorial stones found in and around Begur, stored in the Nageshvara temple compound in Begur :
|Riding out to battle ?|
|A happy couple ...unfortunately marred with paint|
|Perhaps a devotee, volunatrily giving up life.|
|A cattle heist|
|Battle in progress .....smiling confidently ?|