Pre-historic rock arts of “Koshalanchal”

May 11, 2010 at 5:36 pm Leave a comment

Following is a report from The Pioneer:

Historians and researchers have started taking a keen interest in the rock arts of western Orissa dating back to pre-historic times.

In the last one decade, more than 7,000 rock arts in 76 rock shelters have been found in Orissa, especially in western parts of the State, researchers said.

Most recently, a 10-member team led by professor of history in Utkal University Sadasiba Pradhan discovered the pre-historic rock art in Debrigarh under Barapahar mountain range of the district.

The newly discovered rock art includes pictures of flowers, honeycombs, triangles, reptiles, goats and hands of human being.

This reveals that western Orissa has been home to continual pre-historic civilisations dating back to more than 8,000 years, they added.

Most of the rock arts, including pictures and engravings have been found in the region, due to extensive research by Prof Pradhan while he was working in Sambalpur University.

The State found its place in the rock art map of India in 1933 when KP Jayaswal reported one of the earliest evidences of rock engravings in India from the rock shelter of Vikramkhol in Jharsuguda district of western Orissa.

Unfortunately, such an early discovery did not arouse much attention of scholars for further discovery and documentation of rock art in the State.

After a gap, SN Rajguru and JP Singh Deo discovered two more rock sites at Guhahandi and Jogimath in Nuapada district in 1950 and 1976 respectively.

This was followed by discovery of more rock art shelters in Sambalpur, Sundargarh, and Subarnapur. Undivided Sambalpur district (comprising of Sambalpur, Deogarh, Jharsuguda and Bargarh) and Sundergarh now account for the highest concentration of rock art sites in Orissa.

The rock pictures and engravings found in western Orissa are by and large non-figurative abstract patterns and motifs in the midst of a few animal forms. The patterns and motifs include a host of triangles resembling female genitals, rhomboids, honeycombs and a series of geometric and non-geometric intricate patterns.

In 2004, 32 rock art researchers and enthusiasts from the United States, France, UK, Austria, Switzerland and Australia visited the rock art sites in Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts. Rock art of Orissa was one of the important topics in the convention of International Federation of Rock Art Association (IFRAA) held in Agra years back, said Dilip Padhi, a rock art enthusiast, who has documented most of the recent findings photographically.

The art, which is the result of chipping and abrading the rock surface with a sharp tool or application of hematite and other natural colours, has stood the ravage of time.

Despite its historical importance the government is not taking adequate measures to preserve the ancient rock arts of the region. After their recent visit to Vikramkhol rock shelter, members of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts alleged the Archeological

Survey of India (ASI) has not performed the conservation work properly in the historical site.

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Entry filed under: Archaeological findings, Athmallik, Balangir, Bargarh, Boudh, Deogarh, History of Koshal, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Pre-historic rock arts, Region watch, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Sundergarh.

Complete failure of Orissa govt. and Western Orissa Development Council (WODC): An article by Amiya Bhusan Tripathi Indian environment ministry puts on hold Vedanta varsity in Orissa:IANS

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