Buddhist-era rock engravings found in Udupi dist

by K Mohanachandran Nambiar, TNN, 3 December 2009

UDUPI, India -- Newly discovered rock engravings at Buddhana Jeddu in Udupi district have evinced keen interest among research scholars engaged in archaeology.

It is a significant and unique rock art site near Neralakatte, on the right side of the Kundapur-Kollur main road, in Kundapur taluk of Udupi district, said Prof T Murugeshi of Ancient History and Archaeology of MSRS College, Shriva. He said that during exploration in Buddhana Jeddu, apparently a significant name in the vicinity of Karkunje panchayat, his team had noticed Buddhist remains and a few engravings in the Bhimana Paare.

The team comprised Sridhar Bhat, a noted field explorer working in Kamala Bai High School, Kadiyali, Prof Prashanth Shetty, lecturer in history, Milagres College, Kalyanpur, Prof. Jayaram Shettigar, research scholar, Govinda Pai Research Centre, Udupi. Raghavendra Amin and Sri Naveen, artists from Kalamandir in Udupi.

Murugeshi said the Bhimana Paare, a grazing area of Buddhana Jeddu, is located in the reserve forest. The engravings were partially exposed due to erosion of the overlying deposit. "We have conducted three expeditions during three different seasons in the past couple of months, and exposed more then 10 engravings so far," he said.

The pictures comprise three animals (cattle), three human figures, one embryo, abstract geometrical designs, cup marks and a number of footprints. Murugeshi said he had brought them to the notice of Dr Rajan of Pondicherry University and Dr A Sundara, retired professor and famous pre-historian of Karnataka. Rajan has identified them as petroglyphics, after seeing the first set of pictures. Sundara observed them to be important and comparatively significant.

The geometrical design, comprising spirals of a particular pattern, grabs attention and is perhaps unique. It is comparable to a similar design of the Mesolithic age from Russia, he added.

The Buddhana Jeddu rock art site is the first of its kind in Karnataka, where the engravings are found on surface-level stone. Murugeshi said he was grateful to Nagesh Poojary and his family, and Manjunath Poojary, Karkunje panchayat member Shekar Poojary and forest gaurds of the local area for the successful archaeological expedition.