Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent by TermsFeed
 
Rock Art Network Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
Rock Art Network Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
Rock Art Network Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
Dharkundi and Deurkuthar Rock Art Sites in Central India
1 June 2021

by Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
Wakankar Senior Research Fellow

Dharkundi Temple with an Ashram
Figure 1
Dharkundi, Temple with an Ashram
© Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
So far, this region was not known for its rock art sites, perhaps because the area is far from safe and one is not allowed to remain in it overnight. I had the opportunity to visit it and make enquiries on the occasion of our visit to a temple with an Ashram, i.e. a hermitage for Hindu sadhus or holy men. That temple (Fig. 1) had been built in a big open shelter with a large overhang, next to a waterfall and a pool. If there had once been any rock art there, which is quite probable due to its location and the size of the shelter, it was not preserved.

The name of Dharkundi comes from “dhara” (stream) and “kund”, a big hole into which the river flows. The Dharkundi area (24°47′42″N 81°9′8″E) is situated in the Satna district, one of the three districts of the Rewa division, 70km northeast of Rewa, at the border of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. In Madhya Pradesh the height of those hills varies from 1700 to 2250 feet above sea level. Their sandstone formations harbour hundreds of rock shelters, sometimes with extensive overhangs. The landscape mainly consists of jungles with abundant wild life including leopard, bear, wild boar, deer, antelope etc. Those jungles were (and still are now) populated in remote villages by various tribes such as the Kol, Baiga, Gond and Kori. They used to be hunter-gatherers but for hundreds of years they have been cultivators.

Handprints on top of early art
Figure 2
Handprints on top of early art
© Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
On questioning the head Sadhu about any rock art in the vicinity, he said that he and his companions knew of a few sites and they had been wondering about their purpose. They also told me that out of curiosity about the colours they had tried to rub and wash the paintings with coconut bark and water, but to their surprise the colours had remained intact! After telling them about the history, importance and value of rock art, they agreed to show me some of those rock art sites. We saw four of them, situated in a dense forest within 3 to 5kms of the Ashram, under the leadership of a younger sadhu called Baba Ramakant. He told us that the shelters’ names were Jogini Ki Gupha (gupha meaning cave and jogini meaning holy woman): Cave of the Holy Woman. To distinguish one site from the other, I called them 1, 2 (with 2a and 2b), 3 and 4. Thick banyan roots covered extensive surfaces of the walls in almost each shelter.

Early images of animals were made with dark red (Fig. 2). The work was sophisticated with a variety of intricate patterns. On the contrary, in the later period, the same kinds of animals were depicted in bright red, in a crude way, with thick lines and poor intricate designs (Fig. 3), sometimes incomplete.

Early images were superimposed (Fig. 4) with Buddhist auspicious symbols of lotus in different styles, such as twirling lotus (Fig. 5), conical lotus buds and simple flower pot (Fig. 6) in a three-tiered pedestal. Depiction of Dharmchakra (wheel of life) toran (decoration of the door), Kalash (a pitcher or pot with a large base and a small mouth, filled with water and topped with a cornet of mango leaves and a coconut), Chouk (a square-shaped decorated motif) in the rock art sites indicate the frequent visits of Buddhist monks in the Dharkundi area: they probably used those sites for meditation.

Late period art
Figure 3
Late period art
© Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
 
Superimposed wall
Figure 4
Superimposed wall
© Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
 
Lotus
Figure 5
Lotus
© Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
 
Buddhist symbols
Figure 6
Buddhist symbols
© Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
 
Deurkuthar Shelter
Figure 7
Deurkuthar Shelter
© Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
 
Ceremonial figures in white
Figure 8
Ceremonial figures in white
© Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak

Recent Handprints in red
Figure 9
Recent Handprints in red
© Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
Being located centrally amongst famous Buddhist places like Sanchi, Koushambi, Sarnath, Bharhut and Deurkuthar, Derukuthar stupas and rock art sites are hardly 120kms from the Dharkundi area. Images of the Buddhist period are similar in both areas.

Deurkuthar is a well-known Buddhist place with stupas. Several painted sandstone shelters are nearby (Fig. 7). They are not well preserved, all the more as local villagers keep paying them visits for ceremonies, particularly on full moon nights, and leave traces of their rituals, such as red and white crude figures (Fig. 8), dots, finger marks and handprints (Fig. 9). The most important site is 10 to 12m long with a 5 to 6m overhang and it is 2 to 3.50 meters high. All the forepart of the overhang is eroded as well as the two extremities of the shelter. The spectacular art only consists of Buddhist symbols and lotus flowers in red, yellow and green (Fig. 10). Buddhism in rock art shows the use of those painted shelters by Buddhist monks.

Buddhist symbol
Figure 10
Buddhist symbol
© Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
The Mayura King Ashoka could have established the Deurkuthar stupas about 300 BC. Excavation of Deurkuthar, which seems to predate the late Mauryan-Sunga period (4th through 1st centuries BC), when most early stupas complexes were built, promises to throw light on the genesis and spread of Buddhism in Central India.

Surprisingly, no war or household scenes have been noticed at Dharkundi. It is strange as other rock art sites in central India, such as Bhimbetka, Pachmarhi, Adamgarh, Raisen area and Gandhisagar sites have many battle and household scenes from the Historic period.

Later period or recent handprints evidence ceremonial uses of the rock art sites in recent times and testify to the continuation of beliefs and traditions.

The Rock Art Network
→ Discover more about the Rock Art Network
→ Members and affiliated institutions of the Rock Art Network

Latest Article
→ A Map from the Memory of the World
by Janette Deacon
10 June 2021

Recent Articles
→  The dangers of 'Discovering' rock art
by Peter Robinson
1 June 2021
→  Dharkundi and Deurkuthar Rock Art Sites in Central India
by Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
1 June 2021
→ Dating the Earth and its Rock Art
by Neville Agnew
23 May 2021
→ Studying the Source of Dust Using a Simple and Effective Methodology:
by Tom McClintock
30 April 2021
→ ABC Radio National 'Nightlife' with Philip Clark - 'Exploring the wonders of cave art in Australia'
by Professor Paul S.C. Taçon & Dr Josephine McDonald
30 April 2021
→ A Painted Treasure - San hunter-gatherer visual engagement with Didima Gorge (South Africa)
by Aron Mazel
10 March 2021
→ L'Atlas de la grotte Chauvet-Pont d'Arc
by
Jean-jacques Delannoy &
Jean-Michel Geneste
1 February 2021
→ Oldest cave painting found in Indonesia
by Rock Art Network
14 January 2021
→ Graffiti Dates and Names as a Rock Art Conservation and Management Tool
by Johannes H. N. Loubser
29 October 2020
→ Animals in Rock Art
by Aron Mazel
7 October 2020
→ Reflecting Back: 40 Years Since ‘A Survey of the Rock Art in the Natal Drakensberg’ Project (1978-1981)
by Aron Mazel
29 September 2020
→ Art on the Rocks in the Age of COVID-19
by Neville Agnew & Tom McClintock
15 September 2020
→ Explore Cederberg rock art from your home
by Janette Deacon
9 September 2020
→ The Continuum of Art: The relationship between Ice Age art and contemporary art and how an understanding of the former can help engage a modern audience
by Peter Robinson
16 August 2020
→ Illuminating the Realm of the Dead: The Rock Art within the Dolmen de Soto, Andalucía, Southern Spain
by George Nash
29 July 2020
→ Rock Art Adventurous Field Work during COVID-19 in the Southernmost of South America
by María Isabel Hernández Llosas
9 June 2020
→ The Final Passage - FAQ
by Jean-Michel Geneste
1 June 2020
→ Experts rush to map fire-hit rock art
by Andrew Bock
15 May 2020
→ Sacred Indigenous rock art sites under threat
by Amy van den Berg
12 May 2020
→ Virtual Meeting
by Ben Dickins
22 April 2020
→ The Bradshaw Foundation Launches the Rock Art Network Website
by Wendy All
23 March 2020
→ The aftermath of fire damage to important rock art at the Baloon Cave tourist destination, Carnarvon Gorge, Queensland, Australia
by Paul Taçon
24 November 2019
→ The removal and camouflage of graffiti: The art of creating chaos out of order and order out of chaos
by Johannes H. N. Loubser
11 November 2019
→ The Histories of Australian Rock Art Research symposium, 8-9 December 2019, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
by Paul Tacon
5 November 2019
→ San rock art exhibition at the National Museum & Research Center of Altamira
by Aron Mazel
17 September 2019
→ The 2018 Art on the Rocks Colloquium
by Wendy All
2 December 2018
→ Preserving Our Ancient Art Galleries: Volunteerism, Collaboration, and the Rock Art Archive
by Wendy All
1 December 2017
→ Altamira and the New Technology for Public Access
by Pilar Fatás Monforte
30 April 2017
→ From the Chauvet Cave to the Caverne du Pont d’Arc: Methods and Strategies for a Replica to Preserve the Heritage of a Decorated Cave That Cannot Be Made Accessible to the Public
by Jean-Michel Geneste
29 April 2017
→ Emerging Consciousness and New Media: The Management of Rock Art in Southeast Asia and New Opportunities for Communicating Its Significance
by Noel Hidalgo Tan
28 April 2017
→ Step by Step: The Power of Participatory Planning with Local Communities for Rock Art Management and Tourism
by Nicholas Hall
27 April 2017
→ Fundraising for Rock Art by Promoting Its Values
by Terry Little
26 April 2017

Follow the Bradshaw Foundation on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation
on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation
on social media for news & updates
If you have enjoyed visiting this website
please consider adding a link © Bradshaw Foundation
 
 
Rock Art Network
LATEST ARTICLE
Rock Art Network
RECENT ARTICLES
Rock Art Network
→  The dangers of 'Discovering' rock art
by Peter Robinson
1 June 2021
→  Dharkundi and Deurkuthar Rock Art Sites in Central India
by Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
1 June 2021
→ Dating the Earth and its Rock Art
by Neville Agnew
23 May 2021
→ Studying the Source of Dust Using a Simple and Effective Methodology:
by Tom McClintock
30 April 2021
→ ABC Radio National 'Nightlife' with Philip Clark - 'Exploring the wonders of cave art in Australia'
by Professor Paul S.C. Taçon & Dr Josephine McDonald
30 April 2021
→ A Painted Treasure - San hunter-gatherer visual engagement with Didima Gorge (South Africa)
by Aron Mazel
10 March 2021
→ L'Atlas de la grotte Chauvet-Pont d'Arc
by
Jean-jacques Delannoy &
Jean-Michel Geneste
1 February 2021
→ Oldest cave painting found in Indonesia
by Rock Art Network
14 January 2021
→ Graffiti Dates and Names as a Rock Art Conservation and Management Tool
by Johannes H. N. Loubser
29 October 2020
→ Animals in Rock Art
by Aron Mazel
7 October 2020
→ Reflecting Back: 40 Years Since ‘A Survey of the Rock Art in the Natal Drakensberg’ Project (1978-1981)
by Aron Mazel
29 September 2020
→ Art on the Rocks in the Age of COVID-19
by Neville Agnew & Tom McClintock
15 September 2020
→ Explore Cederberg rock art from your home
by Janette Deacon
9 September 2020
→ The Continuum of Art: The relationship between Ice Age art and contemporary art and how an understanding of the former can help engage a modern audience
by Peter Robinson
16 August 2020
→ Illuminating the Realm of the Dead: The Rock Art within the Dolmen de Soto, Andalucía, Southern Spain
by George Nash
29 July 2020
→ Rock Art Adventurous Field Work during COVID-19 in the Southernmost of South America
by María Isabel Hernández Llosas
9 June 2020
→ The Final Passage - FAQ
by Jean-Michel Geneste
1 June 2020
→ Experts rush to map fire-hit rock art
by Andrew Bock
15 May 2020
→ Sacred Indigenous rock art sites under threat
by Amy van den Berg
12 May 2020
→ Virtual Meeting
by Ben Dickins
22 April 2020
→ The Bradshaw Foundation Launches the Rock Art Network Website
by Wendy All
23 March 2020
→ The aftermath of fire damage to important rock art at the Baloon Cave tourist destination, Carnarvon Gorge, Queensland, Australia
by Paul Taçon
24 November 2019
→ The removal and camouflage of graffiti: The art of creating chaos out of order and order out of chaos
by Johannes H. N. Loubser
11 November 2019
→ The Histories of Australian Rock Art Research symposium, 8-9 December 2019, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
by Paul Tacon
5 November 2019
→ San rock art exhibition at the National Museum & Research Center of Altamira
by Aron Mazel
17 September 2019
→ The 2018 Art on the Rocks Colloquium
by Wendy All
2 December 2018
→ Preserving Our Ancient Art Galleries: Volunteerism, Collaboration, and the Rock Art Archive
by Wendy All
1 December 2017
→ Altamira and the New Technology for Public Access
by Pilar Fatás Monforte
30 April 2017
→ From the Chauvet Cave to the Caverne du Pont d’Arc: Methods and Strategies for a Replica to Preserve the Heritage of a Decorated Cave That Cannot Be Made Accessible to the Public
by Jean-Michel Geneste
29 April 2017
→ Emerging Consciousness and New Media: The Management of Rock Art in Southeast Asia and New Opportunities for Communicating Its Significance
by Noel Hidalgo Tan
28 April 2017
→ Step by Step: The Power of Participatory Planning with Local Communities for Rock Art Management and Tourism
by Nicholas Hall
27 April 2017
→ Fundraising for Rock Art by Promoting Its Values
by Terry Little
26 April 2017
Bradshaw Foundation Donate Friends
Support our work & become a
Friend of the Foundation
 
 
Bradshaw Foundation Facebook
 
Bradshaw Foundation YouTube
The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
Rock Art Network
LATEST ARTICLE
Rock Art Network
RECENT ARTICLES
Rock Art Network
→  The dangers of 'Discovering' rock art
by Peter Robinson
1 June 2021
→  Dharkundi and Deurkuthar Rock Art Sites in Central India
by Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak
1 June 2021
→ Dating the Earth and its Rock Art
by Neville Agnew
23 May 2021
→ Studying the Source of Dust Using a Simple and Effective Methodology:
by Tom McClintock
30 April 2021
→ ABC Radio National 'Nightlife' with Philip Clark - 'Exploring the wonders of cave art in Australia'
by Professor Paul S.C. Taçon & Dr Josephine McDonald
30 April 2021
→ A Painted Treasure - San hunter-gatherer visual engagement with Didima Gorge (South Africa)
by Aron Mazel
10 March 2021
→ L'Atlas de la grotte Chauvet-Pont d'Arc
by
Jean-jacques Delannoy &
Jean-Michel Geneste
1 February 2021
→ Oldest cave painting found in Indonesia
by Rock Art Network
14 January 2021
→ Graffiti Dates and Names as a Rock Art Conservation and Management Tool
by Johannes H. N. Loubser
29 October 2020
→ Animals in Rock Art
by Aron Mazel
7 October 2020
→ Reflecting Back: 40 Years Since ‘A Survey of the Rock Art in the Natal Drakensberg’ Project (1978-1981)
by Aron Mazel
29 September 2020
→ Art on the Rocks in the Age of COVID-19
by Neville Agnew & Tom McClintock
15 September 2020
→ Explore Cederberg rock art from your home
by Janette Deacon
9 September 2020
→ The Continuum of Art: The relationship between Ice Age art and contemporary art and how an understanding of the former can help engage a modern audience
by Peter Robinson
16 August 2020
→ Illuminating the Realm of the Dead: The Rock Art within the Dolmen de Soto, Andalucía, Southern Spain
by George Nash
29 July 2020
→ Rock Art Adventurous Field Work during COVID-19 in the Southernmost of South America
by María Isabel Hernández Llosas
9 June 2020
→ The Final Passage - FAQ
by Jean-Michel Geneste
1 June 2020
→ Experts rush to map fire-hit rock art
by Andrew Bock
15 May 2020
→ Sacred Indigenous rock art sites under threat
by Amy van den Berg
12 May 2020
→ Virtual Meeting
by Ben Dickins
22 April 2020
→ The Bradshaw Foundation Launches the Rock Art Network Website
by Wendy All
23 March 2020
→ The aftermath of fire damage to important rock art at the Baloon Cave tourist destination, Carnarvon Gorge, Queensland, Australia
by Paul Taçon
24 November 2019
→ The removal and camouflage of graffiti: The art of creating chaos out of order and order out of chaos
by Johannes H. N. Loubser
11 November 2019
→ The Histories of Australian Rock Art Research symposium, 8-9 December 2019, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
by Paul Tacon
5 November 2019
→ San rock art exhibition at the National Museum & Research Center of Altamira
by Aron Mazel
17 September 2019
→ The 2018 Art on the Rocks Colloquium
by Wendy All
2 December 2018
→ Preserving Our Ancient Art Galleries: Volunteerism, Collaboration, and the Rock Art Archive
by Wendy All
1 December 2017
→ Altamira and the New Technology for Public Access
by Pilar Fatás Monforte
30 April 2017
→ From the Chauvet Cave to the Caverne du Pont d’Arc: Methods and Strategies for a Replica to Preserve the Heritage of a Decorated Cave That Cannot Be Made Accessible to the Public
by Jean-Michel Geneste
29 April 2017
→ Emerging Consciousness and New Media: The Management of Rock Art in Southeast Asia and New Opportunities for Communicating Its Significance
by Noel Hidalgo Tan
28 April 2017
→ Step by Step: The Power of Participatory Planning with Local Communities for Rock Art Management and Tourism
by Nicholas Hall
27 April 2017
→ Fundraising for Rock Art by Promoting Its Values
by Terry Little
26 April 2017
Bradshaw Foundation Donate Friends
Support our work & become a
Friend of the Foundation
 
 
Bradshaw Foundation Facebook
 
Bradshaw Foundation YouTube
The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store