Authorities urged to protect historic Pandavula Guttalu cave paintings

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Express press service

BHUPALPALY: Pandava or Pandavula Guttalu caves are famous for ancient rock art and painting on cave walls near the hills. Hundreds of tourists visit here daily, either to see the historic murals or to climb rocks. Lately, tourists have expressed disappointment over the vandalism of rock art inside the caves. They say state archeology officials have failed to protect rock art.

After the Ramappa Temple was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visitors continue to flock to the historic temple and surrounding tourist spots in Jayashankar Bhupalpally and Mulugu districts. Pandavula Gutta is located about 50 km from the town of Warangal. These caves are near Kothapally village in Regonda mandal. Archaeologists had found historic cave paintings inside the caves.

Pandavula Guttalu is a unique rock art site. It has always been inhabited by man since prehistoric times. There are some natural paintings on these rocks, illustrating the lifestyle and hunting methods of earlier peoples. The paintings on the hills depict peacocks, lizards, tigers, frogs, fish, deer, etc. There are also geometric designs and prints in green, red, yellow and white pigments. In addition to this, cave paintings, inscriptions from the Rastrakutan era and frescoes from the late medieval period have also been discovered in these hills. Some of the paintings have been superimposed, depicting highly developed anatomical features and curves.

Rock art is a form of landscape art that includes designs that have been placed on rocks and cliffs, cave walls and ceilings, and on the surface of the ground. Speaking to Express, local archaeologist Aravind Pakide claimed authorities had neglected rock painting arts.

The Pandavula Gutta falls under the jurisdiction of the Forest Department. They do rock climbing here, but they don’t deal with rock paintings. Those who visited for rock climbing activities and other tourists wrote names and painted on rocks and they vandalized prehistoric rock painting arts. “Officials should take steps to protect rock paintings. We demand that the state government restore rock art that has been damaged. This work should be left to experts,” he said.

When contacted, Kalyanapu Suman, director of tourism for the former district of Warangal, admitted that rock paintings were being vandalized by unidentified people. “We have already deployed security personnel to protect the paintings. We have also raised the matter with the relevant officials,” he said.

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