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Kumittipathi: Tamil Nadu Cave Art



  Apr 12, 2024

Kumittipathi: Tamil Nadu Cave Art



The Issue:

Ancient cave paintings located at Kumittipathi near Velanthavalam, Ponparappi Hills near Periyanaickenpalayam, and Vettaikaran Malai near Vellingiri Hills in Tamil Nadu are facing threats of destruction. These artworks, dating back 3,000 to 4,000 years, are recognized by the Archaeological Survey of India and are valuable pieces of early civilization art and history.

Current Threats:

The primary threat to these ancient relics comes from individuals, particularly young people visiting these sites for leisure, who inadvertently or deliberately damage the paintings. Activities include scratching out parts of the paintings, defacing them with names, and painting over them with various images.

Efforts for Preservation:

Members of the Tamil Nadu Art and Literary Association have taken steps to address this issue by petitioning the district collector, K Rajamani, for intervention. The association has proposed several measures to protect these historical treasures:

• Erecting railings or grills around the paintings to prevent direct access.
• Placing informative boards outside the caves to designate them as archaeologically protected sites and warn against tampering.
• Proposing the deployment of security guards at each site to monitor and prevent vandalism.

Historical Significance:

The cave paintings in question are not only significant due to their age but also because of the insights they provide into ancient human life and culture. For instance:

• In Kumittipathi (Pathimalai), the paintings depict scenes such as elephant herds, temple chariot processions, boats, and groups of people, suggesting a rich cultural and communal life.
• At Vettaikaran Malai, images of hunters riding elephants and tribal dances indicate social and hunting practices.
• Ponparappi Hills feature paintings that showcase domesticated and wild animals, hinting at the interaction between humans and nature.

Conclusion:

The preservation of these cave paintings is crucial for maintaining a link to our past and understanding the cultural and historical contexts of ancient civilizations in Tamil Nadu. The steps proposed by the Tamil Nadu Art and Literary Association, along with the district collector’s positive response, are hopeful signs for the conservation of these invaluable heritage sites.



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