Telangana’s Pandavula Gutta gets geo heritage tag | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Telangana’s Pandavula Gutta gets geo heritage tag

By, Hyderabad
Mar 24, 2024 06:00 AM IST

On March 12, survey officials a meeting with heritage activists and conservationists at Pandavula Gutta as part of the Azad Ki Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.

Pandavula Gutta, a geological marvel in the Deccan plateau older than the Himalayas, has been recognised as the first geo-heritage site in Telangana’s Jayashankar Bhupalpally district by the Geological Survey of India.

An ancient hill range known for rock paintings by early man, Pandavula Gutta is so named because it is believed that the Pandavas, the protagonists in the Mahabharata, lived here for a while during their vanavaas (exile) (HT)
An ancient hill range known for rock paintings by early man, Pandavula Gutta is so named because it is believed that the Pandavas, the protagonists in the Mahabharata, lived here for a while during their vanavaas (exile) (HT)

An ancient hill range known for rock paintings by early man, Pandavula Gutta is so named because it is believed that the Pandavas, the protagonists in the Mahabharata, lived here for a while during their vanavaas (exile). The caves are located in Regonda block, about 50 km from Warangal town on the way to Kaleshwaram on the Warangal-Mahadevpur highway.

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On March 12, survey officials a meeting with heritage activists and conservationists at Pandavula Gutta as part of the Azad Ki Amrit Mahotsav celebrations of the central government to create awareness about these little-known hillocks. Declaring Pandavula Gutta as a geo-heritage site, survey director Anup N Kamble said the entire area had a lot of geological significance.

“Going by the geological studies, Pandavula Gutta is probably older than the Himalayas,” he said. “We need to preserve this geo-heritage site for the future generations.”

The recognition of Pandavula Gutta as the sole geo-heritage site by the central government was a matter of pride for Telangana, district collector Bhavesh Mishra said. “It has a geological significance with large mineral resources and natural formations that might have taken millions of years to form,” he said.

While stressing on the need to promote this heritage formation, Mishra said efforts would be made to project it to the Unesco for recognising it as a World Heritage Site.

The Pandavula Gutta was discovered by K Ramakrishna Rao, an official of the Department of Archaeology and Museums in Hyderabad in 1990, according to heritage activist and history researcher Arvind Arya Pakide.

“After that many geologists, historians and archaeologists visited the area and made extensive studies on the rocks. Using the carbon dating techniques and studying the depictions of the rock paintings found in the caves of these hillocks at 13 different places, they observed that these caves date back to Mesolithic era (middle stone age) and are of about 4,000-2,500 million years old,” he said.

Located amid scenic surroundings, the rocks of Pandavula Gutta appear as if someone had sculpted them majestically. “These are naturally formed caves with a series of caverns and tunnels and interlinking routes,” Pakide said. “There are several entrances to the caves in the hillock.”

Heritage experts and historians who studied these caves found several stone tools and rock art paintings of prehistoric times, suggesting that this area could have once been a habitation of early man.

The caves are adorned with figures of humans, animals and other symbols on walls and ceilings of caves, rock shelters and isolated boulders, Pakide said. The rock art paintings depict wildlife like bison, antelope, tiger and leopard, besides other forms like the swastika symbol, circles and squares, and weapons such as bows, arrows, swords and lances.

The paintings also feature geometrical designs and impressions in green, red, yellow and white pigment colours. “There is also a shilatoranam (natural rock arch) at one hillock on the lines of a similar arch found on Tirumala hills. This is a sahaja sila thoranam (naturally formed stone arch). A lot of research needs to be done on these structures,” Pakide added.

One of the caves was also found to have an inscription dating back to 7-8th century AD, which is attributed to the Rashtrakuta empire. “It mentions the destruction of Buddhists and Jains in the name of religion. Maybe it was a refuge for Buddhists and Jains during the rainy season,” he said. The Telangana tourism and forest department have developed the entire area into an ecotourism spot and a destination for adventure seekers and trekkers. “It has just started attracting enthusiastic tourists and heritage enthusiasts,” Pakide said.

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