Saturday, 11 February 2017

Onake Kindi: Prehistoric Cave Paintings at Anegundi

In 2011 when I was planning my Hampi trip itinerary, I had read Anu Shankar's excellent blog about her visit to Hampi. It was here that I was introduced to Prehistoric cave paintings at Anegundi dating 3000 to 5000 yrs called Onake Kindi. During that trip when we hired a car for exploring Anegundi , the driver cum guide initially denied knowing this place. On my persistence he had "remembered" this place and took us there. After that trip the hard drive of my laptop crashed and I lost all the photographs of that trip .

So in December 2016 I got another oppurtunity to visit Hampi as a 3 day trip. As I was wondering how to locate Onake Kindi, I happened to visit the ASI office near Zenana Enclosure in Hampi. I was here searching for a book on Alexander Greenlaw's 1856 photographs of Hampi. This book which was  being sold at almost all outlets at Hampi in 2011, was hard to find now


Luckily this ASI office had the book and during the conversation, I mentioned to the incharge officer that we wanted to visit Anegundi the next day in search of Onake Kindi. He didnt know its whereabouts but suggested that we take a govt bus from hampi to reach Talwar Ghatta and cross the Tungabhadra river by boat to reach Anegundi which would save time and money. Travelling to Anegundi by road would take around 35 km  and autodrivers demand around a 1000 rs for a day trip to Anegundi.

I found the geolocation of onake kindi in a blog  (15°22'09.8"N 76°28'35.2"E)
So armed with google maps, on 28.12.16 Dad and me boarded the local bus at Hospet bus stand at
8 am with Talwar Ghatta as the last stop. This bus plies to this destination every 2 hours. Ticket costs around Rs. 20 per person. At Talwar Ghatta a motor boat took us across the river onto the other bank which was just 2 minutes away. Ride cost Rs. 10 per person.

                                                                         Talwar Ghatta

At Anegundi we bargained with Pasha the auto driver to take us to Onake Kindi and Anegundi fort. Luckily he knew where it was . From the main road we have to walk through a farm land and arrive at a locked gate ( since it is a private property).The person in charge is generally available here and has the key. On this occasion he had to go back home to get the key and we had to wait for a while. Meanwhile a family from Mumbai were brought here by guide Shivanand. He was surprised to see us since this place is not well known. He went back to get the key from the incharge person and returned in 15 minutes.

There are paintings in 2 caves which are on opposite sides of the area. These are dated to be around 5000 years old.


This painting looks like a burial site. It has caught the interest of many alien enthusiasts who say it depicts an alien spaceship. Some say its a map.

                                                 Man made hole used for mixing the paint?

Leopards are known to live in these caves. Caution is warranted .


These paintings denote the daily life of our ancestors. showing horses, bulls, snakes, dogs and hunting. The above painting intrigues me. The animals look different from  what we have around us today. Was it due to lack of skill of the painter or did the animals actually look different back then? 5000 years is a  long time after all.

Another aspect to the question is this. Was our civilisation primitive 5000 years ago or was it advanced as our epics say? Mahabharata war has been estimated to have happened in 3107 BCE, roughly around this time. Does that mean these paintings are even older? Leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

The paintings look faded since the last time i visited them 5 years ago. With no conservation in place since this is a private property, these paintings may soon fade out.

After we came back to the auto, Pasha showed us 2 more paintings located on the hills near the road.

                            They look awfully similar to the RANGOLI patterns used today.

Anegundi also has megalithic burial sites at Hirebenakal and Moreyara Mane at Elu Guddada Saalu. Its next on my list of places to visit.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Megaliths at Aihole Pattadkal

Megalith wiki -

My first brush with prehistoric art was at Onake Kindi cave paintings at Anegundi, Karnataka dating over 3000 to 5000yrs . On my recent trip to Badami, I was on the lookout for similar paintings over there. So when I read about megalithic tombs at Bachanagudda and Aihole, I was on my toes to locate them... Indiana Jones style.

As we set out for Aihole and Pattadkal on 06.02.17, I was on the lookout for the megalithic tomb at Bachanagudda. ASI guide book of Pattadkal has mentioned it with a photo . I also got to know more about it at . I got the geo location submitted by Siddeshwar in his blog. Our autorickshaw driver had no idea what and where it was. Not surprising since many guides in Badami too had no idea. Luckily the geolocation was accurate (15°56'52.7"N 75°47'57.7"E and we spotted the stone structure right next to the road going towards Pattadkal.


 I had read in the blog that there were 2 structures over here. Could not find the 2nd one. These
 megaliths were used as markers over burial sites over 3000 yrs back.

 This one has no mortar joining them. The stones are standing due to the weight over each other.
 In some megaliths bodies were kept inside with some tools and pots.There must have been many of these structures together long ago. But due to ravaging by treasure hunters and by locals, only 2 are visible survivors here now.

I dont know how long these tombs at Bachangudda will be left standing. There is a dire need for conservation and protection of these monuments and the need for creating more awareness about tourists about these structures.


We then headed towards the ancient Jain temple along the road to Aihole. Siddeshwar's blog mentioned a whole complex of megaliths on the hillock behind the Jain temple.
By now, our autodriver Mr. Mallesh was intrigued with these megaliths. He decided to join us too. We first visited the jain temple which is a rock cut cave temple . I dont have an idea how old it is.

I soon started scouting the hillock to find an accessible pathway to the top. It had to be a simple climb since we could not have managed a difficult climb. Much to our delight, the climb was an easy one.
We were welcomed by a plateau of over 20 dolmens, maybe more. Many have collapsed possibly due to treasure seekers.



Here is the link to my video of this place:

Considering that the hill is hard rock, the bodies or their ashes must have been kept inside these tombs. No bones to be found now though.
Meguti temple and fort could be seen on the other side of the plateau.

There are some tombs still standing. Hope some active measures are taken up by ASI for protection of these monuments.
These tombs are of 2000 to 3000 yrs old and they must be given equal protection as are the monuments in Aihole and Pattadkal. If they disappear , history will be left poorer. And so will history buffs like my dad and me.