Paleolithic caves are nestled amid a maze of quartzite rocks in the Aravalli mountain ranges, outside the national capital, and a stone’s throw from the region’s only surviving patch of primary forest, a holy grove called Mangar Bani.
Archaeologists have discovered cave paintings in Haryana’s rocky and forested corner, not far from the national capital. They believe they belong to the Upper Palaeolithic age, making them one of the oldest cave paintings in the nation.
The caves are snuggled amid a network of quartzite rocks in the Aravalli mountain ranges, in the outskirts of the national capital, and a stone’s throw from the region’s only surviving piece of primary forest, a sacred grove called Mangar Bani.
While the inhabitants of Manger village and annexing villages such as Selakhari maintain generations have been conscious of the paintings, it is only lately that the Haryana government’s museum and archaeology administration took note of them. It granted a fact-finding team to the district in the last week of June.
So notably, cave paintings in Delhi-NCR have only been discovered here. Most prehistoric sites have been ascertained in the Aravalli region. The illustrations are yet to be dated. Some of them relate to the Upper Palaeolithic period in all probability.
The team encountered cave paintings incorporating images of animals, foliage, human figurines, and geometric, some that have paled over time, but others still very obvious. It also confronted rock art and conventional open-air sites. However, some could be found in the open air. Most of them are on the ceilings of the rock shelters.
The judgments may well alter the history of Haryana. The Upper Paleolithic Age started around 40,000 years ago and continued till 10,000 years ago approximately.
Though instruments from the Palaeolithic Age have been recognized ahead in parts of the Aravallis, it is for the initial time that cave paintings and rock sculptures of a considerable magnitude have been discovered in Haryana.
The findings have to be dated, validated, reviewed, and published to ensure. Finally, the department proposes to offer further explorations in the region.
The caves and the paintings themselves are evocative of Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh, home to the oldest known cave art in India, dating back to the Mesolithic Age (around 10,000 years ago).
According to Bhattacharyya, the Mangar cave art is 20,000-40,000 years old, but this can be ascertained through archaeological dating. Experts also use qualitative techniques by comparing the cave art to other cave art, and that found in further excavations.
Explorations and diggings in the Aravallis have been initiated in the past. However, for the first time, cave paintings at the ongoing site have caught the attentiveness of researchers. The site may have possibly endured relatively undiscovered over the years due to thick vegetation.
Most of the paintings are ochre, but some are white. Experts say cave paintings in white are usually from a later stage (early contemporary era), while Stone Age paintings are, more often than not, ochre. Stone age paintings generally use red and ochre colors. Because stones of these colors used to be available locally, inhabitants crushed the stones for preparing the color for paintings. While the Aravallis are known for prehistoric remains originating from the Lower Palaeolithic period, unlike Central India and other areas rich in rock paintings, no rock paintings have been discovered in Aravallis.
Engravings established as a part of Aravallis were known through more prime publications but what was not apprehended so far was paintings in rock shelters. The drawings never got washed away due to these rock houses. Excavators do not recognize the date at the moment. But this is a definite indication that there need to have been many more paintings. Those might have been devastated over time.