A rare rock art pertaining to the prehistoric period has been found on a boulder in the Noorukuppalakonda reserve forest of Madanapalle revenue division, which opens new vistas for research in the western belt of Chittoor district.
Eluri Harshavardhan, an assistant professor in the Department of History, Archaeology and Culture at Dravidian University, Kuppam, sighted the rare painting during his visit to the Rookalagundu boulder, located in the foothills of Bodikonda, along with members of Loris, an Arogyavaram-based conservation group. The site is 5 km from Pothabolu revenue village.
The painting is found on the surface of granite boulder at a height of 10 feet from the ground. “It is painted in red colour in a big space measuring about 5x5 metres. The painting consists of about 20 animal and human figures. The animal figures include leopard, antelope, dee, peacock, pangolin and cattle without humps,” Dr. Harshavardhan told The Hindu. There are indeed some images showing men and women carrying loads on their head.
The occurrence of prehistoric rock art in Rayalaseema region and in Chittoor district is not uncommon. Similar paintings are reportedly found throughout Pennar basin in the region and also the northern parts of Tamil Nadu. The frequent occurrence of Dolmens in the vicinity, presence of geometric lines and some signs in the painting suggest a megalithic period. The western and southern parts of Chittoor district have rich megalithic antiquity in the form of Dolmens, stone alignments and Menhirs.
“The rock art is certainly as old as 2,000 years,” Dr. Harshavardhan reasons, observing that the painting referring to early human settlements could date to the period between 100 CE and 1000 BCE. While dubbing the rock painting important in understanding the cultural and ecological history of the region, he requested the district authorities to preserve the rock art site in view of its significant heritage value.