Sunday, November 6, 2016

Prehistoric Anthropomorphic Statues of Kumathi and Hulikunte

Three years ago, I had an opportunity of staying in Bellary for a brief period of time during which my wife shared a few must visit places in and around Bellary. The list included pre-historic sites of Kumathi, Sangankallu and Kuppagal. But due to paucity of time, I could never make it to any of these places back then. However, we managed to visit a few of these places during our Dussehra vacation. Kumathi is one among the very few sites where anthropomorphic statues have been found. Anthropomorphic statues are statues resembling human beings and are associated with pre-historic period.
Leading the Way 
After a sumptuous meal at Nayakanahatti temple, we headed towards Kumathi which was about 30 km from Nayakanahatti. It took about 45 minutes to reach Kumathi without much hassle. As per the details given in the book, these statues were located in the farm of Sri K M Thipperudraiah. We reached Sri Thipperudraiah's house and on inquiring about the statues, his son and grand-daughter volunteered to guide us to this place. On reaching the farm, we were awestruck to witness these structures that resembled a scarecrow. Although 7 statues existed originally, sadly only 2 of them have survived, while the remains of the others are seen. Out of the two statues, one of them seems to bear feminine features with a narrow waist, while the other seems to represent a male, though unsure. These statues are believed to have been erected after the death of a king/leader/head of the tribe. The slab statues are tall  and carved out of locally available granite stone.
Is it A Bird or Female?
 Male  Anthropomorphic Statue
Tall Anthropomorphic Statue
Heading back to the guide's house, we confirmed about the route to Hulikunte and bade a good-bye to our guide. Hulikunte, an other anthropomorphic site was located about 12 km from Kumathi. On reaching Hulikunte, we were supposed to head towards Harijana Borakka's farm land where the statue was situated. Unfortunately none in their family were seen or heard and nobody around were willing to accompany us to the site. However, we met a person who was busy carving a farm tool out of wood and managed to strike up a conversation regarding the site. After much hesitation, he agreed to accompany us to the site. A 10 minute bumpy ride took us to the site and after we parked our vehicle, we had to walk about 600 meters through a groundnut field to witness the statue. These statues are locally known as 'Rakshasa Kallu' or demon stone. Only 1 out of 3 statues have survived here. The statue here is small in stature and less complex, compared to the statues of Kumathi. In both the places of Kumathi and Hulikunte, the statues were erected  inside a stone circle in a standing posture.The legend behind the statues goes this way. "There was a god-man named Byraweshwara and during his visit to the forest for hunting purpose, he met a few demons who troubled him much. Out of anger, he cursed the demons to turn into stones, which is why these stones bear the local name as 'Rakshasa Kallu' (Rakshasa means a demon in Kannada)". In Yarenahalli village of Mokalamuru taluk (Chitradurga), during the local festival of "Shri Ajjanamuni Veerachit Shri Kalabyraweshwara or Shri Nukanmale Siddeshwara", a folk art play portrays the story of theses statues although the reason behind why these statues were carved out and who carved them, still remains a mystery. These statues are being attributed to the megalithic period based on other evidences found here. Further research needs to be undertaken on revealing the mystery behind such structures and appropriate measures should be taken to preserve them for future studies. These statues are believed to belong to the last or final stage of the anthropomorphic culture and are considered to be the finest.
The Battalion 
The Site
Rakshasa Kallu
  While researching on Anthropomorphic statues, I came across an interesting article titled 'Anthropomorphic statues of South India'. Surprisingly, I read about a few other sites with such statues scattered across the states of Unified Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It would be intriguing to visit these sites and know more about these structures. Our guides at Hulikunte were quite excited to know that we had come all the way from Bangalore only to see these structures. As we walked towards the site, we were accompanied by many others who were working in the nearby fields. An elderly person gave a much more interesting insight to the statues, although it seems that somewhere these stories are slowly vanishing in our fast paced materialistic generation. His enthusiasm made us feel proud in a sense that there are people who still strongly believe that such ancient structures possess magical powers and need to be preserved for further studies. We spent sometime conversing about the statues and also inquired about the presence of any cave paintings or dolmens around, as there were many hills surrounding this place. Though he replied with a negative response (or may be he was just not aware of its presence),  he informed us about the presence of a 7 tiered fort on top of the hill close-by. Since it was already late that evening and the chances of encountering bears during that period of the day were high, we decided not to venture to the hill top. He also added a list of places worth visiting nearby, but as time did not permit us, we assured ourselves to visit them some other time and with a lot of ifs and buts and doubt in mind, we headed towards our next destination of the trip.
Life Size Anthropomorphic Statue
Hills around the Site 
 References:
1. A book in Kannada titled "Hampi Parisarada Adhimanava Nelegalu" by Dr.L.Srinivas.
2. Journeys across Karnataka, a blog by Siddeshwara.



11 comments:

  1. Wow! This is a treasure. Hope it remains the same for long. Thanks for sharing this.

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  2. Such an amazing find.. I have never ever hear about such statues or their existence in India. They look straight out of a sci-fi movie

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  3. Thanks for this interesting tour!

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  4. they are really neat. a connection to the past, perhaps a spiritual one.

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  5. Great post.. thanks for sharing info on these interesting places..

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  6. They look like demons too! Not sure if you heard of any untoward activity happening in the area - that would have added more context to the structures.

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    1. Alok...intriguingly my wife was told by the local women around not to take the younger one close to the demon stone for reasons whatsoever and hence we did not.

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  7. yes they look like demons also,sign for tribal people not to cross that sign
    historical informative post
    photos are clear nice photos

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  8. What a nice walk, beautiful stone.

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