This website has been developed as a resource for Teaching as well as for University based Research, as well as for Heritage Planners and Administrators to consult while devising or planning a proper strategy for conserving the rock art heritage of this country. Our primary aim for constructing, developing and maintaining this website has been to archive and to explain the visual data outputs of our fieldwork under a Two-Year Research Project "The Documentation and Analysis of the Rock Art of Uttar Pradesh with Special Reference to the Rock Art of Mirzapur District, Uttar Pradesh". This Research Project has been funded by the Indian Council Of Historical Research (ICHR), New Delhi, and the research for it is being carried-out by Faculty and Students, at the Department of History, Faculty of Social Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.
We are grateful to the Forest Department of Uttar Pradesh, the Directorate of Archaeology (U.P.), Government of Uttar Pradesh, and the Archaeological Survey of India, Office of the Director-General, Delhi, and the Lucknow and the Bhopal Circles of the Archaeological Survey of India, for the necessary permissions and nods of approval.
This website has also been constructed to make public the data and analyses of this project, as a stepping-stone towards a Public Archaeology in India, of which at present, there seems little or no evidence. For instance, the poor state of the conservation and preservation of the rock art of the Vindhyan Region, which is so well-evident from this documentation of it, has hardly been noticed even in the Varanasi region.
There has been little or no debate, even in Banaras, regarding the very urgent need to take such steps, as would ensure the long-term survival of these priceless Vindhyan rock paintings, which ultimately also inform us greatly about population history of the Ganga Valley, and its hinterlands, for the purpose of public viewing and for archaeological and allied research, as for example at Bhimbetka.
A useful line of thinking may be to follow the model of the Baroda Heritage Trust as there is little doubt about the Hindi adage "Akela Chana Bhand Naheen Phorta'. That said, it seems to me, that the task before such a Trust - perhaps, a Vindhya Heritage Trust - is rather more daunting, given the far greater land-area which we are talking here about, as compared to Bhimbetka (which is perhaps 5 square miles), and Champaner which is about 10 square miles. At a rough estimate, we are here likely talking about 1200 Square Miles. However, I shall try to return with a more precise estimate of the total land area covering over 300 painted rock shelters in Sonbhadra and Mirzapur Districts. While I work this out with my doctoral students and the departments of A.I.H.C and Archaeology and the Department of Geography here at BHU, and that is likely to take some time at this juncture, I shall also I think, as I have already done for the ICHR, transfer this entire Digital Archive of Vindhyan Rock Art Images and Videos to some notable National Repositories. The rest of such repositories may consider writing to us requesting copies at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is so as I think I did read somewhere perhaps on the website of the American Rock Art Research Association that the digital media is the best way to preserve rock art.
Hence, this website.
Here is wishing a Happy Viewing to all our Guests and Visitors!
Ajay Pratap (M. Phil and Ph. D University of Cambridge)
ICHR, Rock Art of Mirzapur Project
Department of History
Faculty of Social Sciences
Banaras Hindu University
Varanasi - 221 005