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Chhattisgarh (part of Dakshin Kosal), the newly formed state carved out of Madhya Pradesh, has a distinct geographical and cultural identity which is shared by six surrounding states, viz., Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The state has great comparative advantage in untapped human and natural resources. Its natural resources in energy, minerals, forests, land and water are some of the richest in the country. Its human resources provide a vast network of eco-specific knowledge and skills. The state abounds in richness of cultural heritage, archaeological antiquities (ranging from Palaeolithic to Historical period), monuments and rock art sites. However, many of the rock art sites have not been properly explored so far. The Department of Culture and Archaeology of the Chhattisgarh Govt. is embarking on a number of projects which would bring the culture and archaeological heritage of the state to the fore in national and international arena and also indirectly enhance the tourism industry. In the present paper an attempt has been made to put the important rock art discoveries from this state in a proper perspective and try to interpret them in terms of abundance, age, diversity, style, environmental implications, man-animal relationship etc. However, the data available at present is very meagre.

The first discovery of rock art in Chhattisgarh was made in 1910 by C.W. Anderson, an engineer in the Bengal/Nagpur Railways, ably assisted by C.J. Wellington (from 1910 to 1913). Mention of such work, especially at Singhanpur in Raigarh Dist., was made in 1918 (Anderson, 1918) and subsequently in a few publications. It was followed by the works of P. Brown (1923 a, b; 1953), A.N. Dutta (1927), M. Ghosh (1932), L.P. Pandey (1933), D.H. Gordon (1939), J.P. Gupta (1960, 1967), P. Mitra (1961) and S.K Pandey, (1969) and V.S. Wakankar (1973), adding considerably to our knowledge about rock art in this area. However, no serious work has been undertaken on this subject in Chhattisgarh during the last two decades in the light of new techniques of study that have become available in recent years.

Chhattisgarh is very rich in rock paintings ranging in age from Mesolithic to Historical period and as said above, some of the rock paintings date back even to prehistoric period. Many of the rock paintings throw interesting light on the life ways and art of Early Man. By far the most prolific rock art sites in the state of Chhattisgarh are located in the district of Raigarh at Singhanpur, Kabra Pahar, Basnajhar, Ongna, Karmagarh, Khairpur, Botalda, Bhanwarkhol, Amargufa, Gatadih, Siroli Dongri, Bainipahar etc. Some of these were already known and a few were discovered during the course of two years survey in the district. At most of the sites pictures of snakes, birds, elephants, humped cattle, wild buffalo, wild boar, deer, rhinoceros, human figures, mermaids, hunting scenes, geometric designs, scenes of agricultural activity and dancing scenes in several colours have been drawn. In the district of Kanker some of the rock paintings are located in the shelters of Udkuda, Garagodi, Khairkheda, Kulgaon, Gotitola etc. In these shelters human figures, animal figures, palm prints, bullock carts, etc. are generally depicted. Rock art sites of Ghodsar and Kohabaur in the district of Koria are also worth mentioning. These have the paintings of human figures, animal figures, scenes of day to day life, generally painted in white. At Chitwa Dongri (Durg Dist.) interesting depiction of a Chinese human figure riding a donkey, pictures of dragons and those of agricultural scenes are depicted. In addition to the sites mentioned above, Limdariha in Bastar district and Sitalekhni, Oogdi etc. in Sarguja district have also yielded several interesting rock paintings. There are more sites, probably numbering over fifty, ranging generally from Middle Palaeolithic to Historical period located in the state of Chhattisgarh but these await proper documentation and research. A check list of district-wise rock art sites with important features is given below which is expected to provide a basic ground for further research on the rock art of Chhattisgarh.


Some of the important Rock Art sites in Chhattisgarh are listed below
1 Singhanpur Raigarh Ladder men, Mermaid, Animal figures, Hunting scenes, Kangaroo, Giraffe ?
2 Kabra Pahad Raigarh Tortoise, Bison, Male Figures, Geometric patterns
3 Basnajhar Raigarh Elephant, Geometric patterns Animal Hunting scenes
4 Ongna Raigarh Man with head gear Geometrical drawings
5 Karmagarh Raigarh Geometric patterns, Paintings in multicolours
6 Khairpur Raigarh Dancing scenes, Animal figures
7 Chapamada Raigarh Animal patterns, Human Fighting scenes
8 Botaldah Raigarh Animals, Hunting scenes, Mermaid
9 Bhanwarkhol Raigarh Bison, Mermaid, Bear, Hunting scenes, Geometric pattern, Swastik
10 Amargufa and Cherigodari Raigarh Animal patterns, Hunting scenes, Human figures
11 Sutighat Raigarh Agriculture and Animals figures
12 Tipakhol Raigarh Geometric Design
13 Nawagadi Raigarh Religious symbols like Sun, Moon, Animal figures, Human figures, Hunting scenes
14 Bainipat
Raigarh Geometric patterns
15 Siroli Dongri Raigarh Human figures, Hunting scenes, Palm impressions
16 Potia Raigarh Human and Animal figures
17 Geedha Raigarh Rock Painting Engraving
18 Udkunda
a)Dewata Ki Kachahari
b)Chanda Pathara
c)Adaya Pahar
Kanker Palm and Feet impressions, Animal figures
19 Gada Goari Kanker Animal figures
20 Kherkheda
b)Naukar Gudara
c)Gadia Gudara
Kanker Animal and Human figures, Palm impressions, Human Figure
21 Kanhagaon Kanker Human figure, Animal figures
22 Gotitola
a)Pancha Pandav
b)Near Tank
Kanker Scene Pertaining to relation (Ram, Sita, Laksman etc.) Figures of tree leaves, Palm impressions
23 Sita Ramguda Kanker Human Figures
24 Kulgaon Kanker Animal figures, Human figures drawn in white and yellow
25 Ghodsar Koria Animal Figures, White colours, Human daily life scene
26 Kohbahur Koria Geometric pattern
27 Chitwa Dongri Durg Chinese figure, Dragon, Agricultural activity
28 Sitalekhni (Odagi) Sarguja Geometric pattern
29 Ramgarh Sarguja Human figures and faded geometrical design
30 Limdariha Bastar Human and Animal figures
31 Murelgarh Koria Human figures and geometrical design

  Amargufa: Amargufa is situated about 33 km southwest of the town of Raigarh or 11 km south of the village Sonabarsa which is located 2 km from Kharsia on the main road. Here animal figures, human figures, hunting scenes etc. are depicted.
Basnajhar: The site is situated at a distance of about 27 km southwest of Raigarh. There are more than 300 paintings present in the hills of this village in which beautifully drawn scenes of decorated elephants, monkeys, mermaids, horses, wild buffaloes, hunting scenes, dancing scenes, geometric designs etc. are noteworthy.
Bhanwarkhol: About 66 km northwest of Raigarh or 12 km from Bilaspur on the Bilaspur/Kharsia road, in between the villages of Sutighat and Patrapali and to the north rock paintings are found in the hill of Shrangkhala rock paintings are found , which are known by the name of Bhanwarkhol. Here we come across paintings of mermaids, wild buffaloes, bear, hunting scenes, palm impressions, geometric designs, Swastik etc. Some of the paintings have been badly affected by weathering.
Botalda: About 75 km northwest of Raigarh (8 km northwest of Kharsia) is a village with a long range of hills and at a height of 2000’ is located a shelter (locally known as Sinh shelter) where rock paintings are found ranging from Mesolithic to Historical period. We find animal figures, human figures, hunting scenes and geometric designs here.
Chhapamada: About 6 km to the west of Kharsia, on the Raigarh – Bilaspur road, in the hills of Chhapamada, are located rock paintings in three tiers which are generally of Historical period. Animal figures, birds, human figures, war scenes etc. are depicted.
Kabra Pahar: This is situated 30 km southeast of Raigarh. Its height is about 100 ft. and width 50 ft. The paintings which are in a better state of preservation are made in red ochre. Paintings of tortoise, wild buffalo, human figures, geometric designs etc. are noted here. Some of the paintings have been damaged by vandalism . However, the Govt. ofChhattisgarh is taking appropriate steps to protect the shelters.
Karmagarh: About 30 km north of Raigarh the rock paintings at Karmagarh are 325 in number. Here we have geometric designs and multicoloured figures of humans and animals.
  Khairpur: The site is situated about 12 km north of Raigarh near Tipakhol reservoir. There are several dancing scenes and animal figures belonging to Historical period present in the shelters.
Ongna: At a distance of 72 km north of Raigarh (6 km southeast from Dharmjaigarh), are located more than a hundred rock paintings in the Bani Hills. This shelter has many superimpositions of paintings. Big humped bulls and decorated head gears of human figures are special to this shelter.
Singhanpur: The site is situated about 33 km northwest of Raigarh on the Raigarh – Bilaspur road, at a height of 5000 ft. Three Natural Caves are found here out of Two no rock art there. The third caves has rock paintings, which have become considerably faint, are of the ladder man, mermaids, animal figures, hunting scenes etc. generally drawn in red ochre. Paintings of Kangaroo and giraffe are also mentioned but identification of these needs to be reviewed.
Kulgaon: About 11 km from Kanker, this rock art site is located 4 km southeast of Kulgaon village on the Jagdalpur Road (NH 43). The paintings belong to Upper Palaeolithic period.
  Kanhagaon: About 25 km southwest of Kanker, the rock paintings are of human and animal figures.
Sirolidongri : This Rock Shelter site, geographically located in 83003', 04.4'' East and 21038', 09.6'' North, is carved in sand stone rock belonging to Chandrapur groups of Chhattisgarh Supergroup (Pande-2006). 5 km to the northwest of Sarangarh Nagar are located the rock paintings of Siroli Dongri. Human figures, animal figures, hunting scenes, dancing scenes, palm impressions are drawn, boat like figures many geometrical figures and some strange looking insects or say unidentifiable figures besides wild animals as well, all of these in red ochre The well formed cupules, then counted to be 37, are carved into horizontal rock bed under a naturally formed umbrella type rock formation. It is in the land slopes and south east part of Siroli Dongari rock shelters. The afore-stated umbrella type Rock formation.
Udkunda: About 33 km northwest of Kanker, in the village of Udkunda in Tehsil Charama, rock paintings are located at three places, viz., Jogibaba place, Chauda parkha, and Kachari. We find palm and foot impressions and animal figures here.
Kherkheda: About 34 km northwest of Kanker, paintings of human and animal figures, archer, bullock cart etc. are depicted here which belong to the Late Historical period.
Kulgaon: About 11 km from Kanker, this rock art site is located 4 km southeast of Kulgaon village on the Jagdalpur Road (NH 43). The paintings belong to Upper Palaeolithic period.
  Kanhagaon: About 25 km southwest of Kanker, the rock paintings are of human and animal figures.
MUREGARH : Located about 12 km. north of Bharatpur (200 km northwest of Baikunthpur), Koria distt. the shelter is famous for various wall paintings drawn on rock panels in multicolours. Janakpur area at Murelgarh mountain is seen here geometric pattern, human figures are depicted in red ochre the rock paintings have mostly geometric patterns.
  Kohabaur: Located about 10 km northeast of Bharatpur in Koria distt., or located in

Gadagoari: Located about 35 km northwest of Kanker, the rock paintings have animal figures, palm impressions etc.

Sitalekhni (Odagi): About 95 km north of Ambikapur, distt. Sarguja, the rock paintings have animal figures and geometric patterns.

Chitwa Dongri: About 85 km northwest of Balod, the rock paintings have a Chinese figure riding a donkey, figures of dragon and depictions of agricultural activity.

Sutighat: This site is situated in Bilaspur – Raigarh road near Patrapali village. Here Agriculture and Animals figures are depicted.

Nawagadi : Located about 46 km northwest of Raigarh Dist. This site is situated on Nawagadi Hill. Religious symbols like Sun, Moon, Animal figures, Human figures, Hunting scenes are depicted.

Ghodsar : In Koria Dist. Rock Shelter is located in Sonhat area Badra Hill, here animal figures, white colours, Human daily life scene are depicted.

Bainipat: At a distance of 32 km northeast of Raigarh. Here four Rock Shelter are located out of one rock paintings are found. This shelter has Geometrical design, animals figures scenes are depicted.

Tipakhol: At a distance of 15 km northwest of Raigarh Dist. This shelter has Human figures and animals figures scenes are depicted. This figures are shined on Dark.
Potia: Located about 80 km north-east of Raigarh Dist. This shelter has animals figures scenes are depicted.
Gotitola: This site is located about 11 km on the way of Charama-Kanker road. Ancient figures are depicted in a place named Sitaramguda in Madhubanpara. Here figures are related to History of Goddess RAM.
Ramgarh: At a distance of 45 km from southwest of Sarguja. Here Two Caves (Sita Bangera and Jogi Mara) out of in one cave rock paintings are found. This shelter has animals figures and human figures scenes are depicted.
  Gatadih : A Rock Shelter is located near by Sarangarh, here animal figures, Hunting scenes, Human figures are depicted.