Rock paintings of Bundi, India

Khursheed Dinshaw (India)

The River Rewa bifurcates into the Ghoda Pachad and Mangli Rivers while flowing through the region that is located 33km to the south of Bundi, in the state of Rajasthan, India.Probably the world’s largest rock paintings can be found in the rock shelters along the banks of the Mangli River here. They belong to the Mesolithic and Middle and Upper Palaeolithic periods, and depict hunting scenes – the life of gatherers, human stick figures, bulls, antelopes and wildlife (Fig.7). Cultural scenes portray dancers, musicians and daily life. There are also inscriptions made from the plant Brahmi on the sandstone rocks lining the River. The rock shelters stretch across a distance of almost 35km.

Fig. 1. In rock shelter 3, prehistoric artists
have made dots and stick figures in white
using mineral colours.

Om Prakash Sharma, also known as Kukki, a local resident of Bundi is credited with discovering this site, as well as nearby sites. On 4 December 1993, he explored a Chalcolithic (Neolithic) mound in the village of Namana, where he found terracotta toys, an axe and chisel. While investigating these discoveries, a historian suggested that he try to locate rock paintings. As a result, for three years, he spent most of his time near rivers and boulders in the hope of locating rock paintings, but with no success.

Not one to give up, he continued looking. Even in his dreams, it was always mountains and rock paintings that he envisioned. In one of his dreams, he dreamt of a rock painting in a cavity near a stream. This led to a discovery 16km north of Bundi, in a place called Rameshwar Mahadev, which was his first rock painting discovery. His excitement knew no bounds and consequently his name was published in newspapers. Inspired he continued to look.

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