Monday, 4 February 2013

The singing rocks of Kupgal

Who has not heard of rock music and rock bands. Rock music as a genre traces its origin to the “rock and roll” of America in the 1950s. It later developed into a range of different styles in the United Kingdom and the United States.
But did you know that Indians did create rock music several thousands of years ago. Yes, it may be strange but true but Indians did create music from the rocks that were found on hills and mountains.
One such site of rock music still exists in Karnataka. Unfortunately, the rock bands here are long gone and visitors come here, bang the rocks so that they can hear the sounds and then vanish.
Very few of such visitors stop to stand and contemplate at the ingenuity of the ancient Indians in literally making music from the rocks.
These rocks are also called the musical rocks and they are found at Kupgal in Bellary district.
Bellary is famous for the largest open air museum in the world-Hampi and lakhs of visitors pour into the erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagars to see for themselves the poetry in stone. Alas, only a handful of them are aware of these rocks and of them only a miniscule take time off to view the poetry of the rocks.
There are hundreds of boulders scattered over a fairly large area in Kupgal. The rocks, carved from Granite, were the percussion instruments, for ancient Indians to make music.
The huge rock art site is a treasure trove where the ancients made music during particular rituals. Even today, when these rocks are struck, they  emit deep, gong-like notes. 
The hill where these rocks are found are called Kupgal Hill. The rocks here have unusual depressions or hollows that were meticulously cut or  designed to be struck for making a particular tone.
These Kupgal stones were believed to be lost after they were first discovered in 1892. It was only recently that archaeologist and geologist have rediscovered the original rock music sites. 
The Kupgal Hills are just 5 km north-east of Bellary. There are several granite hills here and the biggest of them is called Hiregudda or Peacock Hills.
These rocks are petroglyphs and many of them date back to the Neolithic age. 
Some of the rocks have been painted. A few of the rocks had erotic paintings and these can be described as the earliest of such paintings in India. They depict a man having sex.
Did such rock stones influence the ancient Indians in constructing temples and structures that emitted a musical note when struck like the stone pillars of Hazare Rama in Hampi. Only research can tell.
Till then, head to Bellary, enjoy the beauty of Hampi, Anegundi and Nava Brindavana and make your own rock music at Kupgal.   

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