“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition” – Mark Twain
Exquisite and mystique pieces of history are scattered at every nook and corner of this curious land, called India. Yet, they lie hidden beneath the land, above the hills & amidst lush forests. However, their faint murmurs can sometimes be heard, if you choose to listen carefully.
Recently, the Mangarbani hill forest in Faridabad came into limelight after environmental activist Sunil Harsana discovered cave paintings in the area. Initial excavation and exploration conducted by the Haryana Archaeology & Museums Dept. suggests that the site might be the largest Paleolithic site found so far, in the Indian subcontinent.
Treasure trove of India’s pre-historic era:
The Vedic Civilization began and matured in Haryana, along the banks of the River Saraswati. The Vedas were written here, as the Aryans chanted their sacred Mantras. The 5,000-year-old history of Haryana is replete with myths and legends, steeped in glory.
The archeological sites in Haryana, like Naurangabad and Mittathal in Bhiwani, Kunal in Fatehabad, Agroha near Hissar, Rakhigarhi in Jind, Rukhi (Rohtak) and Banawali in Sirsa hold significant evidence of pre-Harappan and Harappan culture.
“The findings of ceramics, terracotta objects, sculptures and ornaments from different sites at Pehowa, Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Panchkula, Satkumbha and Panipat prove the historicity of Haryana. However, it is the first time that a pre-historic site of such magnitude is found in the state,” said Dr. Vasant Shinde, Ex Director-General, National Heritage Maritime Complex.
Based on tool topology, the archeologists have postulated that the prehistoric site could be over a million year old. The cave paintings found at the site are yet to be dated, however experts suggest those to be from the Upper Paleolithic period. The archaeologists from the Haryana Archaeology & Museums Dept. suggest that the site might as well be comparable to the Bhimbetka caves in Madhya Pradesh.
Imminence of India’s prehistoric rock art:
India’s ancient rock art is a bridge that binds the country’s past heritage with present.
Thus, it exudes the creativity, the thought process and lives of a pre-historic man and introduces that to a contemporary man. It transcends beyond time, context, space, and reaches out to the future. It’s like interpreting messages or codes put across in the form of rock art to comprehend and interpret meaning in them.
The remnants of rock art and cave paintings has been found in many states of India where sandstone or sedimentary rocks are found.
Some important rock art sites in south India include: Kupgal, Badami, Maski, Piklihal, and Tekkalakota in Karnataka; Budagavi, Chintakunta, Kethavaram, and Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh; Alambadi and Padiyandal in Tamil Nadu; and Edakkal and Ezuthupara in Kerala.
A few sites can also be found in north India in the high altitude areas of Dras, Kargil, Mulbekh, Nurla and Leh.
There are several rock paintings in the Himalayan foothills, near Almora in Uttrakhand. Besides these, there are rock art sites with paintings in the Ganga-Yamuna Doab area at Varanasi, Prayagraj, and Agra.
However, the most famous rock art site in India is the Bhimbetka group of rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. It is a World Heritage Site as declared by the UNESCO in 2003. The caves found at Bhimbetka are believed to be among the oldest known rock art in the world.
The famous sage and reformist of India, Swami Vivekananda once said- “When the history of India will be unearthed, it will be proved that India is the primal guru of the whole world.” Thus, this is just the beginning of unearthing of India’s lost treasures.