How to visit the prehistoric Cave Paintings of Ongna.
The Tribal Chhattisgarh in Central India is a paradise for ethnologist apprentice, but also for the lovers of history… and prehistory.
It’s also the place of the World that stole my heart because of its Bastar Tribal people.
Today, I let my indian friend from Raigarh, Debayan Sarkhel, introduce you one of the offbeat marvels of his area.
Let’s discover the prehistoric caves of Ongna.
The district of Raigarh in Chhattisgarh State
It’s not the place but the people that matter most for visiting. I can assure you that here the people are honest, simple, and always ready to help with innocent smiling face and of course with rich cultural heritage. It has great proportional benefit in intact human and natural resources, the place where history meets with modern time. It is one of the safest and most peaceful places in India.
The place is a Gold Mine for Archaeologists too. There are a number of places in and around Raigarh district where you can find many Cave Paintings and Rock Paintings of Pre-Historic ages and most of those are as old as Palaeolithic ages. The paintings are almost unexplored and little exposed to the world. Nevertheless, many rock art sites have not been suitably discovered.
The area proliferates in the affluence of cultural heritage, monuments, rock art sites and archaeological antiquities. The presence of pre-historic caves with paintings indicates that the area has been inhabited for a very long time, and has a continued cultural tradition. British discovered these paintings in the early 20th century and started documenting them.
ONGNA (Likhamada) cave is one of those I have visited last month. I am trying to provide you with a little detail about the cave paintings with some photographs which have been taken by me during my visit.
The prehistorical caves of Ongna
I am sure that anyone will enjoy the experience while walking through woods and slopes of the hill filled with greens and chirping of known and unknown birds and the silence of the nature. Looking at the paintings, you will wonder how they have drawn such beautiful arts ways back around 10,000 to 15,000 BC. However, exact date I could not find.
I could make out from the paintings.
Hand Impressions of pre-historic humans
Geometrical Human Figures with and without decorated headgears
Group of dancers
Few figures look like Aliens.
A figure resembling a Pregnant Woman. This one fascinates me since I have never heard any pre-historic painting of pregnant woman is available anywhere else.
Paintings have been done over paintings that mean the same surface has been used by many generations to express their creativity.
How to reach Ongna caves
The Ongna cave is around 70 KM from Raigarh City. It is well connected with motor-able road. You have to walk around 1 KM through the vegetation and stones. I’ll suggest taking a local help, otherwise it will be difficult to locate the cave behind the trees and few turnings. I have been told by village elders that their ancestors used to come down from sky at every night to this place since thousands of years.
Airport- RAIPUR; Rail Station- RAIGARH on Howrah-Mumbai Line.
Hire a cab from Raigarh. Drive via Ambikapur Highway (Laillunga Road), State High-Way 1AB. Drive up to Gharghoda, then go towards Dharamjaygarh. Just before entering Dharamjaygarh town turn right (Land Mark Behari Dhaba). Ongna is around 7 KM from the turning.
A few months after he wrote this article, Debayan informed me that the Government has decided to protect and preserve the prehistorical caves of Chhattisgarh.
Excellent news as there were some graffitis on the paintings.
If you’re interested in the prehistoric caves, don’t miss the article of Debayan on Kabra Hills.
I am grateful to Ms.Stéphanie Langlet (from Amatu Artea) for encouraging me to write my first blog, without her support it could not have been possible for me to write.
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.
Debayan also wrote for us an article on the amazing rock paintings of Kabra Hills.