Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Sunday of Hard Rock

Last Sunday our young band of explorers took off to experience some hard rock in Quepem taluka. First stop was a cave at Rivona. We missed the first cave that is listed by the ASI heritage list, but found another large cavern way off the main road. The kids are standing on a platform with steps, probably some ritualistic altar of sorts.

The view from inside the cave. There was an impressive anthill at the entrance, well sheltered from the ravages of the monsoons. Man and ant must have lived together peacefully. That reminds me, what did the elephant say when he stamped on an anthill?....He said "Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant...!" You have to be a Goan to understand that joke!

On the trail of the mysterious Stone Age rock carvings, they trek past mining dumps on the Pansaimol plateau. The rock here is rich in iron ore and boulders here look like jagged metal.

A man made lake catches their eye. Green pristine water stands where man and machine once dug for the reddish ore. We walked on to where a stream bubbled over well polished pebbles. The cool water was too tempting and what greater joy than to dip your feet within and skim some flat stones!

As they frolicked in the water, a scooterist drove right into the stream and began washing his steed. In Goa bikers and truckers think nothing of driving their vehicles into the nearest pond to give them a good bath. Pollution, billution be damned!

At the Rock Art site at last. The bank of the stream abounds in carvings of animals, traps, figures, symbols of Mesolithic period cosmology. They date back to at least 3000 to 5000 years BC! They are called Petroglyphs in archaeological jargon. Petroglyphs are images created by removing part of a rock surfaces by incising, pecking, carving or abrading.

A small stone phallus, placed mischievously, completes the picture. The same stone plays the role of an eye in the previous photo of a deer.

This bull carving actually depicts the internal organs. Water is poured in the grooves to give better contrast in photographs. On a previous visit I recall the guide on the site referring to this image as "X-ray of a bull". He wasn't giving us any bull, really.

I call this tree standing near the carvings - the "Hell Tree". It looks like there's some tormented figures trying to escape some hellish nightmare. Just my imagination! But do you see what I see in the tree below?

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José Lourenço - Margao,Goa

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