'Early historic man lived in caves of Ranthambore reserve'

20 May 2017

May 20 2017 : The Times of India (Jaipur)

Jaipur: Nearly 2K-Year-Old Paintings Found In Kailadevi Forest

The Vindhya range in Rajasthan was home to prehistoric man. Recent findings of nearly 2,000-year-old paintings in Kailadevi forests of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (RTR), for the first time, validate that the early historic man lived in caves of RTR. The contiguous range that further runs down 150 km to Bundi where hundreds of such rock paintings exist now substantiates the fact that the entire range housed the early historic man.

"So far we were not aware of such paintings in the RTR but it was because of the village volunteers that this came to our notice. These paintings are of early historic era and located in Shrinathpura, also know as village Sankra in the Kailadevi range. In the local dialect these paintings are popularly known as 'Gurjari Ke Chappe,' and are over 2,000 years old. Incidentally , these were discovered by Hansraj Gurjar, working as a village volunteer as a part of the programme initiated by the CCF Wildlife and field director RTR, Y K Sahu in collaboration with the NGO Tiger Watch," said Dharmendra Khandal, conservation biologist, Tiger Watch.

Interestingly, all the paintings on the rocks in the region revolve around wildlife. There are standalone pictures of the leopard, tiger and the ones of the antelopes depict them in a herd. The rust coloured paintings with no patina on them, some that seem as fresh as yesterday, have been made with hematite mixed in water with a twig as the brush. “This was a very rich belt that had abundance of water and forest. The early historic man lived in the Vindhya shel ters or caves and made these paintings to educate the children. Since language came in later, this was a mode of commu nication and education for them. The entire belt from Bhilwara to Kota Bundi and now RTR along the river and its tributaries was inhabited by the early historic man,“ said Om Prakash Sharma alias Kukki, an archaeologist and guide from Bundi who has to his credit the discovery of over 100 rock paintings in Bundi and the surrounding areas.

The Village Wildlife Volunteer Program is supported by Toftigers India & Nepal, Jaisal & Anjali Singh of Sujan Luxury Travels, Ishan Dhar and Subhro Bhattacharya.

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