When we talk about rock art in India, we mainly think of cave temples, Bhimbetka cave paintings and engravings found on excavated objects. It is time to add more things to the list of rock art in India. For example, Konkan geoglyphs or petroglyphs. The initial discovery of these sites was in 2012, although locals knew some of these petroglyphs as something cultural left behind by their ancestors. Today, these Konkan petroglyphs are on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Kasheli, Rundhye Tali, Devache Gothane, Barsu, Devi Hasol, Jambharun, Kudopi and Ukshi in Maharashtra, and Pansaymol in Goa, these are the places in the Konkan region where these aforementioned petroglyphs have been found. More than 1500 petroglyphs are spread over more than 70 sites, all dating from the Mesolithic era. Most of these carvings depict land and sea animals, and understand that some of these cave paintings depict long-extinct animals.
The largest among all Konkan petroglyphs, that of an elephant found at Kasheli (Maharashtra) has some 70-80 other animals carved inside the elephant carving. Some of the sculptures depict sharks, stingrays, tigers, rhinos and birds. One can only imagine the kind of biodiversity the region must have enjoyed at the time.
The Barsu site in Maharashtra has over 62 geoglyphs, making it the largest group of geoglyphs in the Konkan region. Although none of the carvings at any of these Konkani sites depict hunting, the one at Barsu depicts a man, with two tigers leaping towards him. The man has his arms outstretched, depicting him protecting himself from tigers. And if you thought that was the most fascinating, wait until you read the one found at Devache Gothane in Maharashtra. The solitary carving of a human figure on an open rock surface seems banal from an art point of view, but what about the strange magnetic force that surrounds it? This magnetic deviation is certainly unusual.
These geoglyphs or petroglyphs have stood the test of time and are among the best preserved prehistoric art forms. I would travel for these works of art anytime. Would you?
- Are the Konkan Petroglyphs a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
Not yet, but it is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- What are petroglyphs?
Petroglyphs or geoglyphs are rock carvings made by carving directly on the surface of the rock.
- How many petroglyphs have been found in the Konkan region?
Over 1500 petroglyphs have been found in the Konkan region of Maharashtra and Goa.