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International attention for Pachmarhi rock art

india Updated: Sep 12, 2012 11:52 IST
Sravani Sarkar

An international request egged the state directorate of archaeology, archives and museums to take up six rock art sites near the popular tourist spot of Pachmarhi for protection. The six rock shelters, deep in the forests around Pachmarhi in neighbouring Hoshangabad district, house drawings and paintings by early human beings and are about 10,000-years-old. The shelters fall in the Kamti, Pachamarhi and Bori forest ranges.

There are numerous other shelters housing rock art in the vicinity but these shelters attracted the attention of even international experts because of the beauty of the rock art.

It was actually the International Federation of Rock Art Organisations (IFRAO) that took up the matter of protection of these particular set of shelters with the state directorate after one of its (IFRAO) teams visited the shelters earlier this year.

“President of the federation Jean Clauttes wrote to us emphasising the importance of the shelters and seeking its protection and conservation after which we started the procedure of notifying the shelters,” commissioner of archaeology, archives and museums Pankaj Rag said.

The first notification for protection of the rock shelters was issued by directorate in May this year and the final notification is expected any day now, the commissioner said.

Following the final notification, the six sites would get the status of being 'state protected' and conservation measures would be initiated. The first thing to be put up will be legal notice boards on the site warning people not to disturb or destroy the sites.

Two guards will also be posted in the area for protection of the shelters, Rag said adding that provision for security for protected sites has been incorporated in the 13th finance commission grants.

The rock art in these shelters include drawings and paintings of animals, hunting and other routine activities of early human life in pink, yellow, white and green colours. The paintings are mostly of Mesolithic age (about 10,000 years ago).

What is rock art?

Rock art or cave paintings are the artistic expressions of early human beings-pre-historic and historic. In India and MP, they are mostly available in the form of sketches and paintings in sandstone rock shelters and use natural dyes for drawing. The oldest cave paintings around Bhopal are at world heritage site Bhimbetka (Raisen district), which are around 25,000-years-old. The art mostly depicts routine activities of human life like dancing, hunting and also figures of animals, humans and Gods.