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Mugdha Variyar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, November 25, 2012
The western coast, including several coastal districts of Maharashtra, may have a treasure of rock engravings dating back thousands of years before Christ (BC). In May, a team of rock art enthusiasts discovered more than 60 petroglyphs (rock engraving) on laterite stones near Kudopi village, Sindhudurg district, which included carvings of a Goddess, sketches of birds, fish human figures and other abstract patterns.

Petroglyphs are speculated to date back to the Megalithic period.

“Several discoveries of rock art across India have mostly been on sandstone or granite. The recent discovery opens a scope for unearthing several such sites on laterite stones along the Western coast,” said Giriraj Kumar, secretary, Rock Art Society of India (RASI), a PhD in PhD in Archaeology and a professor at Agra's Dayalbagh Educational Institute where he teaches Indian culture, Rock Art and Pre-historic Art and has a . “Such rock art is direct evidence of human creativity that has survived over time.”

While the carbon dating process to determine the age of the rock engravings is still underway, a detailed presentation on the discovery was made at RASI’s three-day annual congress at Badami, Karnataka, earlier this month.

“The real history of India can be interpreted through such rock art sites,” said Somnath Chakraborty, an anthropolgist from Kolkata. “Such petroglyphs and their concentration is not rare and many such sites have been discovered in central India. It is not the number that matters but the variety of the art and its social meaning.”

In 2002, a RASI team had discovered petroglyphs in Hiwale in Maharashtra and another rock art site was discovered in Goa more than 15 years ago.

Rock art enthusiasts are hopeful that the discovery will put Sindhudurg on the world map for rock art. The Society will write to the Archaeological Survey of India, chief minister Prithiviraj Chavan and industry minister Narayan Rane, who also represents the Sindhudurg constituency to declare the site as a protected area and a tourist spot.