The archeologists’ fraternity of Kota are asserting for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) World Heritage Site status to neglected prehistoric rock shelters and painting sites in Kota.
The pre-historic archeological splendours spread over 50 km from Alnia in Kota to Barad region of Bundi district extending up to Bijolia in Bhilwara district.
Archeologists are of the opinion that many of these sites have been neglected over the years and are reeling under a threat of destruction following illicit mining and other anti-environmental activities. Granting of World Herirtage Site status will ensure fencing of the rock paintings, posting of security guards at the sites, checking of illicit activities and will boost tourism, they said.
“The rock paintings of Kota, Bundi and the nearby regions should be conserved by granting them World Heritage Site status as they are not part of any particular country’s history but of world heritage,” said freelance archaeologist and rock painting site discoverer of Bundi, Om Prakash Sharma.
In this region, there are around 400 rock painting sites of pre-historic period including Middle Paleolithic, Upper Paleolithic, Microlithic, Mesolithic and other periods which are of rich historical archaeological significance, Sharma added.
“The rock paintings here depict various figures of ancient man and animals. There are also figures depicting different socio-cultural activities of humans such as hunting and dancing among others. These rock paintings are now facing a threat from illicit stone mining, encroachment, development activities like construction of dams and natural wear and tear,” he said.
Dr Sushma Ahuja, head of the Heritage, Archeology and Museology department, University of Kota said that several agencies including Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts (IGNCA) have done documentation of these rock painting sites and they deserve attention and conservation. “Conservation of these rock paintings would benefit archaeologists and researchers for better understanding of the prehistoric era”, she said.