“I travelled miles, for many a year,
Spent a lot in lands afar,
I’ve gone to see the mountains, the oceans I’ve been to view.
But I haven’t seen with these eyes
What two steps from my home lies
On a sheaf of paddy grain, a glistening drop of dew.”
– Rabindranath Tagore (“Sphulinga”)
How beautifully Tagore has expressed the sentiment of human. We are often interested to visit far off places but not the nearest one.
Inspired by the great Poet, I visited, in last winter, a very little explored place near to Raigarh (my place of present residence), in ChhattisGarh State of India where the foot prints of pre-historic civilizations are scattered around the city in abundance. One of such places, where I visited, was Kabra Pahad (Kabra Hill) just around 10 KM from the heart of city Raigarh. The pre-historic paintings are more than ten thousands year old.
Raigarh has a rich cultural heritage and attractive natural diversity. It has great proportional benefit in intact human and natural resources. This tribal-dominated area, situated in the eastern part of ChhattisGarh, is blessed by nature. Endowed with lush green forests, swift rivers and enchanting waterfalls, Raigarh is fast turning into a major tourist attraction. It is full of rare wildlife, palaces, forests, caves, rock paintings and hills. Most of these sites are untouched and unexplored and offer a unique and alternate experience to tourists compared to traditional destinations which have become overcrowded.
Over and above, it will not be proper, if I do not talk about the people. Here the people are simple, trust worthy, honest and helpful in all respect. It is one of the safest places in the India to visit.
You will be astonished to see such beautiful drawings of Pre-Historic age at a place near to an Industrial city. The place is surrounded with Trees, Greens, and the complete silence will make you speechless. Surprisingly you will hardly find any visitor here.
This is situated around 10 KM South-East of Raigarh. Its height is about 100 ft. and width 50 ft. The Kabra Pahar paintings, was first recorded by Col D H Gordon in 1939.
What to see :
Some of the drawings, I could make out were:
• Other animals – resembling Deer, Pig etc.
• Lizard- the shape is not like as we see at present. It proves the changes in due course of time.
• Chakra- a perfect circle. How they did it in free hand? Is it Flying Saucer?
• Geometric Figures- Aliens?
• Trees- Not familiar. Is it for worshipping?
I have also seen few stone pieces with sharp edge, resembling weapons of Stone Age people. The villagers are worshipping the stones.
The torso of the outline figures is decorated with straight, zigzag or horizontal lines. The techniques of paintings are not so complicated. Every artist should have either used wet colour or dry colours paste.
The Stone Age man has painted many aspects regarding the social, cultural, economical, religious and ritualistic, pertaining to his life on the bare and uneven rock surface. The surfaces have been formed naturally over a period of time. The depictions of contemporary flora fauna and domestic activities have also found in these paintings.
The paintings which are in a better state of preservation are made in red ochre. The colour of the paintings is still bright even after thousands of years. However, the damages made due to the scratching and writing by vandals on the paintings is a matter of great concern and something must be done immediately to avoid more such damages.
I had very interesting discussion with villagers. There are several beliefs among locals in these villages. While few worship the paintings, others narrate stories they have heard from ancestors about people landed from sky and taught their ancestors about the importance of nature, animals and many more with these drawings & paintings. And that is the reason the colour of the paintings are still bright.
How to Reach :
Rail: Raigarh city is well connected with Rail. It is one of major stations on Mumbai-Howrah line.
Air: The nearest Airport is Raipur which is around 290 KM from Raigarh. Either you can come by Road or by Train to Raigarh from Raipur. There are 18 trains between Raipur to Raigarh.
There are many budget hotels available in Raigarh, in addition to 3 Star hotels. The market is quite good and almost everything is available. You can rent a cab at Raigarh.
You have to travel around 10-15 KM from the city to reach the place. The name of Kabra Hill is not so well known to common people, hence you better ask driver to drive towards Loing (Village). Around 1 KM before from Loing market you have to turn right and cross the village Vishwanath Pali. It is better you take a local as guide from this village, since there is no sign board or direction for the location. The locals are very friendly and ready to help. You can reach up to hill foot by cab; from here you have to walk around 2 KM. The walk way is through trees offering some awesome views. You will feel the total silence of nature. The way is little stiff but the nature will give you immense energy to overcome. The zigzag nature gives you a feeling that you are walking on the path of pre historic age people. And suddenly the breath taking paintings will appear in front of you.
My article will be incomplete, without sharing the photographs of the paintings. I am requesting the administrator to upload few of the photos. However, many more are available which I will be obliged to share with interested one.
About Debayans : Debayan Sarkhel is from India. An Engineer by profession. he's working in one of the major Power Producing companies in India. Married and blessed with a daughter. His daughter has completed MBA in adventure Tourism from Indian Institute Of Travel & Tourism Management and now attached with Intrepid, posted at Delhi.
Thanks again to our friend Debayan for sharing so beautifully his feelings when he discovered the place, and of course the practical informations !
I really love the way he's able to depict the atmosphere of a place. What do you think about it ? Did you also feel as if you were following the step of Debayan and his wife ?
If you wish to share your own adventure on this Blog and help the promotion of Chhattisgarh State, please contact me through the contact form, including the topic of your post, or on Facebook, Twitter... You can easily create a free account and send me the pictures I'll add in your post. You'll also help to promote Chhattisgarh in France, as I'll translate your post as soon as possible.
Chhattisgarh State in Central India is a paradise for ethnologist apprentice, but also for the lovers of history... and prehistory.
Today, I let my indian friend from Raigarh, Debayan Sarkhel, introduce you one of the offbeat marvels of his area.
Let's discover the prehistorical caves of Ongna.