The art of rock carving in Sindh, Pakistan
The art of rock carvings, etchings and engravings on rocks by early people in ancient epoch have been explored in all over the world including Pakistan. Such mysterious but wondrous sites representing the art of ancient people, have also been abundantly discovered in Sindh, a southern province of Pakistan, in Khirthar Range, in the surroundings of Larkana, Dadu and Jamshoro Districts. The rock carving sites have been registered in Khairpur Nathan Shah and Johi talukas of Dadu district, in the area of mountainous range in Sehwan and other talukas of Jamshoro District. But in the hilly area of Johi taluka they are particularly more affluent regarding sites of pictographs and inscriptions than other parts of the mountainous range due to copious natural springs of water and the earliest settlements in this region. More than nine sites of rock carvings have been found in the vicinity of Nai (Rainy Stream) Nalli or Narri near Gorakh hills, Sindh, a southern Province of Pakistan. The water of plentiful natural springs has been flowing since the centuries, in the shape of channel or waterway through the bed of Nalli hill torrent, from the mountainous region, towards foothills of Khirthar range up to the deserted locale of Kachho near village Wahi Pandhi, throughout year. The people settled here since the prehistoric period near the waters of different springs (Kumbs) located in this neighborhood. On the other hand, ancient trade route as well led from this area to the Western countries in olden time. Thus, this part of Khirthar range is flourishing in rock carvings than hill torrents of Nai Gaaj, Nai Mamani, Nai Haleli, Nai Angai and Nai Kukrani in boundaries of Johi District Dadu as well as Nai Naig of Jamshoro District. The paper is relevant to the analytical study of the rock carving sites of “Sazo Mazo Drih”, “Pachhal Dhoro”, “Nanhan Jhudro Kumb”, “Hurr Dhoro”, “Bhoora Dara”, “Kalri Dhoro”, “Zaini Dhoro”, “Pahi Dhoro” , Kukrani Dhoro” and Dhoras near Gaj which have been discussed in details here.
The rock carvings have been discovered and documented from different parts of Pakistan. In Sindh, only the site of Sazo Mazo is comparatively reported but the mystery is yet to be unfolded. The further strange and mysterious rock carvings and inscriptions must be discussed which are to be found in the boundaries of Johi, Dadu District of Sindh, Pakistan. Locally in Sindhi language, these are called “Chitti-Ja-Maag” (the rock carving sites). Johi town of Dadu District, Sindh, is situated at 26.432145 degree north and 067.365288 degree east towards west at a distance of 18 kilometers from Dadu city. The village Wahi Pandhi of tehsil Johi is located at 26.65745 degree north and 067.32884 degree east towards west at a distance of 25/26 kilometers from Johi town. The locations of rock carvings and inscriptions are located in the neighboring mountainous area of the village Wahi Pandhi. The routes lead to these rock carving sites from Wahi Pandhi through hills.
Khirthar Mountainous Range has been preserving and conserving the thrived and marvelous historical heritage since old ages but the threats of natural dissectors always have been remaining. Thus, some rock carving sites are disappeared and some of the heritages are on the verge of vanishing. However, the caves situated at Kai springs, primitive settlements of Kandhi Wahi and Bandhani near Sehwan Sharif of Jamshoro District, the primeval hamlets at Ali Murad, Wahi Pandhi, Pir Lakho Karo Kot and Khaunthi hill near Johi of Dadu District, are the proofs of splendid pre-historical record explored by celebrated archaeologist Nani Gopal Majumdar and those are appeared in his book Explorations in Sindh (1). Like other historical heritage, Khirthar Mountainous Range comprising of Johi taluka is rich in the rock carving sites. Thus, in the boundaries of Dadu District, the rock carving sites can be found at large scale instead of other areas of Sindh, Pakistan. Relating to this, two major reasons can be considered. Firstly, at the abundant of Kumbs or Dhoras (depressions) of rainy streams or hill torrents and natural springs of water people became settled and secondly very old trade route has been leading through the hilly area of Johi, District Dadu towards Balochistan and beyond to far-west countries since the centuries. In early time, the caravans used to cross through Phosyaand, Rohel, Garo, Bagu, Shakloi and Khawal passes to western countries. H.T Lambrick has written concerning the passes in his book, “Sindh-A General Introduction” (2) that at Phusi (Phosyaand) the eastern approach to the summit of the range, here little more than 3500 feet high becomes much easier with wide, sloping ascents from the upper valley of Nai Narri (Nalli). Within a distance of above fifteen miles, there are five crossing places, the best known being Rohel (Pass). Consequently, while traveling through busy route, area might have remained populated and busy. The trader convoys might have stayed at the settlements along the hilly torrent of Nalli. At present the routes are limited up to Balochistan province of Pakistan. The remains of prehistoric helmets of Karo Kot, Khaunthi, Mian-Jo-Kot and others are to be found on the neighboring hills of mentioned ancient routes. The period of the settlements of Karo Kot and Khaunthi can’t be counted lesser than the prehistoric settlements of Ali Murad, Kai, Kandhi Wahi and Bandhani recorded by celebrated historians, Nani Gopal Majumdar and H.T Lambrick. The sites where the pictographs, petroglyphs, engravings, petroforms and inscriptions are depicted are closed to the helmets and ancient trade route. All the sites are in the vicinity of abundant natural springs. So, this superb heritage had been left by those ancient and early people who were settled here in the hilly zone of the natural springs in the mountains. This activity of ancient people reflects over the inheritance of antique art, culture and civilization.
If the carvings on rocks of the world are shown as dating back to Mesolithic, chalcolithic, Neolithic and Paleolithic ages, then how the carvings situating in khithar mountain range are of later ages. In “Khirthar”, a collective book by M.H Penhwar, Anwar Pirzado and others, is mentioned that the art on this high cliff can be dated back to the late Paleolithic or Mesolithic ages. Generally, the late Stone Age is estimated between 40,000 and 10,000 BC but due to lack of excavation, the exact data for Sindh and Balochistan is not known. In this region the Mesolithic time is considered from 10,000 to 5,500 BC. However, the impression gathered from the rock art appears to confirm presence of hunting activity during the Stone Age. In the light of above reference, the rock carvings on the rocks at the sites of “Bhoora Dara”, “Hurr Dhoro”, “Nahan Jhudro”, “Sazo Mazo Drih” (Hillock) and “Pachhal Dhoro” can be presumed most likely from Neolithic and chalcolithic ages to Iron Age (3).
The primordial people mostly have expressed their emotions, spiritual thoughts and beliefs, through visual images, pictographs, paintings or premature arts on rocks. Now a day’s art emerged with the appearance and dispersion of fully modern or advanced people throughout the world. The Paintings, sculptures, engravings, later pottery pictographs, reveals not only quest for beauty and decoration but also complex social systems and spiritual concepts. The earliest examples of Indus Valley rock art are mostly dating back to prehistoric and ancient times. The prehistoric or the later carvings, in general show, animals, hunting scenes in distinct styles, symbolic and religious scripts. The carvings and pictographs on rocks are inscribed of those animals which were used to find in Sindh in ancient times, like monkeys, horses, Sindh Ibex, camels, cows, bulls, donkeys, wolves, foxes, leopards, deer, dogs and other animals. On other side the inscribed religious symbols can be counted of those religions which were remained prevalent in Sindh in different periods. In primitive or of later period religious mythologies, faiths and customs seemed as symbolic expressions in carvings, engravings and pictographs at a large on the rocks of Khirthar mountain range. It can be believed that the rock carvings and engravings in Khirthar range might have been chiseled in different ages or phases from prehistoric period and it continued in historical period.
Here the rock carvings are on the rocks in the boundaries of Johi tehsil, we can observe Swastika, which is extremely powerful symbol of Hindu and other religious mythology. Swastika dates back to the Neolithic age, when it was engraved on stone elements and terracotta. It is also found in many other cultures. Such a symbol bends to arms used as emblem of Nazi party and of the German state under Adolph Hitler. The Britannica Concise Encyclopedia describes about Swastika that “Equivalent cross with its arms bent at right angles all in the same rotary directions, usually in clockwise. It is used widely throughout the world as symbol of prosperity and good fortune (4). In India, it continues to be the most common auspicious symbol of Hindus and Jains as well as for Buddhists. In Buddhism, it symbolizes the Buddha’s feet or foot prints. Swastika represents life, Sun, power, strength, and good luck. It is in addition believed that right Swastika represents male and left Swastika stands for female. On the other hand the Buddhist main subjects symbolized in carvings are stupas and other Buddhist symbols. According to “Chach Nama” a first written source material of history about Sindh, in the period of Rai Dynasty, the area from Sehwan to Jacobabad Sindh and probably beyond up to Sibi, of Balochistan Province had been called “Buddhiya” (of Buddhists) (5). The history discloses that influence of Buddhism remained in Sindh from Mauryan’s period. Probably the area of Bhuddhiya might have been called from Mauryan’s period. During the 9th or 10th century AD the Buddhist belief was replaced by a new socio-religious movement in this area. In the carving of this area expressions of Buddhism had been etched on rocks in different periods.
While, in Sindh the Zoroastrianism religion else flourished. Sindh remained under the rule of King Daruish-1(600BC-486BC) (6), Achaemenids Empire (550BC-330BC) and Sassanids Empire (224BCE-651) (7). The influence of Zoroastrianism has been proved through the ruins of Zoroastrians in Sindh, in my detailed article with historical instances and references. But at this time it is necessary to state the symbolic expressions of Zoroastrianism to be found in rock carvings in this rocky zone.
Another important element in the rock carvings is inscriptions. I am of the opinion that most probably, the inscriptions are mostly consisting of personal names and dedicational phrases of religious thoughts of early people about their religion and main religious or royal personalities. The majority of inscriptions are executed on the rocks, in all probabilities are in old Indian scripts like Brahmi or Brahmin script. Still these scripts or inscriptions have not been clearly deciphered. While observing, the rock carvings on the rocks at the sites of “Bhoora Dara”, “Hurr Dhoro”, “Nahan Jhudro”, “Sazo Mazo Drih” (Hillock), “Pachhal Dhoro”, “Kalri Dhoro” and “Zaini Dhoro” can be presumed that most likely, these might have been chiseled from Neolithic, chalcolithic ages to Iron Age and some of these might have been engraved in historical times. In other words, it can be believed that from prehistoric period to medieval period, these rock carvings have been pecked and chiseled on rocks. Although, no one has explained this art of ancient people with certainty, but this is unmatched heritage of Sindh, including Pakistan. The rock carving sites that to be found in the surrounding areas of Nai Nalli, Nai Gaj, Nai Mammani and Nai Kukrani, have been described separately below:
(1) Sazo Mazo Drih: Drih is a word of Balochi language which means a heap or hillock. According to the local traditions, Sazo and Mazo were women, who dropped themselves from top of the hillock and sunk into the deep water of a Kumb (water collection) during the war between two heads of Baloch clans, Mir Chakar Khan Rind and Guhram Khan Lashari. Later the Kumb (spring) and drih (hillock) were named after those two women. The place “Chakar Ghatt” (Pass of Chakar) sited near Sazo Mazo is also related to Mir Chakar Khan Rind. The most attentive and noticeable site of rock art is close to Sazo Mazo drih (hill) along an ancient route to ancient sites of Kafir or Karo Kot, Mian-Jo-Kot and Piprasar and beyond up to Balochistan. There is a big and deep spring (Collection of water) in close proximity to this site. Rock carvings are carved on a rock between site of Chakar Ghatt and the Kumb of Sazo Mazo in three main panels. Half of the rock is crumbled, thus, numerous rock carvings are now vanished. However, Two images of horse are represented. One horse is magnificently adorned and seems to be of a noble or royal. (Fig: 1) It appears that the neck of superbly depicted horse is decorated with peepal tree leaf shaped bead. A geometric floral design in circle is represented on upper part of the fore and the back legs of this horse. The second depiction of horse is very simple. The rider is riding on the horse and the bridle of horse is in his hands (Fig: 2).
The two demonstrations of right Swastikas are engraved beside the both sides of the big portrait of dancing woman. (Fig: 3) The big portrayal of woman is between two imageries of right Swastikas. (Fig: 4) Her one arm is raised and another is on her waist. It seems that she dances. Very little image of dancing girl or woman is depicted above the simply engraved image of a second horse and below the humped bull and calf like animal. (Fig: 5) Probably, this representation appears as a figure of woman or girl and closely resembles to a sculpture of dancing girl, explored from Mohan- Jo-Daro. The left hand of the woman or the girl is on her waist while her right arm is straight. A symbolic word or expression is inscribed beside her at left side of depicted dancing girl. The inscription can be considered as symbolic expression. The appearance of inscribed symbolic word is either like “Na” ( ) vowel of Devanagari (fig: 6) which may be an expression of Sindhi world “Nach” (Dance) or “Nachani” (dancer) or “Nari” (woman) or it is in an old Brahmin script consonant “Sa” ( ) and may be representation for “Samarti” or “Samjna” a wife of Vivasvan or “Sraddha” a wife of Vaivasvata. In some Hindu religious traditions, it is believed that Manu is a title accorded to a progenitor of humanity. The seventh Manu was called the Vaivasvata Manu, the son of Vivasvan and his wife Samjna. Vaivasvata Manu, whose original name was Satyavrata, is the 7th Manu and considered as the first king to rule this earth, which saved humanity from the great flood, after being warned of it by the Matsya avatar of Vishnu, who had also advised him to build a giant boat (8). The story is mentioned in early Hindu scriptures such as the Satapatha Brahmana, and it has often been compared with the popular traditions of a Great Deluge from other cultures around the world, particularly that of Noah’s Ark. Because Manu was believed to be absolutely honest, he was initially known as Satyavrata (“One with the oath of truth”). Vaivasvata Manu ruled as King Manu, his wife was Sraddha. In Sindhi, word “Sumarti” stands for remembrance. So, it can be presumed that ‘Sa’ symbolizes “Samarti”, “Sumarti” or “Samjna”.
The five pictographs of humped bulls having joint legs are engraved. The two bulls have curved horns (Fig: 7) and three have straight horns. (Fig: 8 A) Between the legs of one carved bull a calf like animal is illustrated. (Fig: 8 B) One angry humped bull is fighting with either another bull or an animal which is illustrated lay under its feet (Fig-9). The image of laid animal is damaged. It has been mentioned above that Shiva’s ridding and door keeper was humped bull. So, the depicted pictures of humped bull are indicating to understand the relativity of people with Shiva and worship of his humped bull. One image of camel is pecked to be appeared as giraffe. (Fig: 10) One pictograph of dog is chiseled near unicorn (One horned). (Fig: 11) Here two images of Unicorn or one horned animal are symbolized. In two depictions men are demonstrated ridding on the unicorns. (Fig: 12, 13) Sculptures or pictographs of unicorn were explored from Mohan-Jo-Daro. Whereas, according to Hindu mythology Vishnu is unicorn god. A prominent historian Bherumal Maharchand Adwani writes in his book “Qadeem Sindh” that the worship of unicorn was prevalent in ancient Egypt and Indus valley civilization (Qadeem Sindh). The images of unicorn elucidate the relativity of natives with Vishnu’s worship here in this neighborhood. Three lines of inscriptions are emblazoned on panels of the rock. (Fig: 14, 15, 16) Probably the inscriptions are inscribed in Brahmin or other ancient writing. Probably, some words of Kharoshthi script are inscribed here. One pertroglyph of man; pulling an arrow from bow is carved herein rock carvings at Sazo Mazo Drih. (Fig: 17) Three pictures of Stupas are depicted. (Fig: 18, 19, 20) One image of dog (Fig: 21), one figure of donkey (Fig: 22) and two icons of similar to foxes are executed. (Fig: 23) A boat is also represented with pounding technique here in separated panel. Except this many symbolic expressions, words and geometrical designs are inscribed on rock nearby Sazo Mazo Drih or Kumb. These symbolic representations are designed in panel in which magnificent horse, a straight horned bull, unicorn, right swastika and Curvy horned bull near stupas are depicted. Probably, the symbolic words of old Brahmin and Kharshthi script are inscribed at Sazo Mazo Drih. A petroglyph of symbolic expression is inscribed ( ) (fig: 24), on this rock. The symbolic expression and words ( ) (Fig: 25) is engraved behind a figure of donkey. The two inscriptions are engraved above and in front of the humped bull standing close to stupas as ( ) (Fig: 26). Some other expressions are also inscribed close to each other in front of the engraved picture of glorious horse as ( ) (Fig: 27), ( ) (Fig: 28),( ) (Fig: 29),( ) (Fig: 30),( ) (Fig: 31),( ) (Fig: 32),( ) (fig: 33), ( ) (Fig:34 A). Most probably, these expressions are dedicated words and some may be representations for religious and social aspects. Two demonstrations of fire temples of Zoroastrians are curved. (Fig: 34 B and fig: 35)The view of Sazo Mazo Kumb is very amazing.
(2) Pahi Kumb: Kumb word denotes meaning of water collection. Kumb Pahi is close to Sazo Mazo Drih and it is along an ancient trade route which leads to passes (lukk) of Khirthar Mountain. The art of rock carvings is pounded on sandstone rock near the Kumb along the ancient trade route. Sindh Ibex, left Swastika, cut marks, cup marks, words and symbolic expressions are decorated with pounding technique. The sight of huge Pahi kumb is very astonishing.
(3) Pachhal Dhoro: Dhoro is word of Sindhi language which means a hollow or a depression where water rests. This site is located at a distance of 2 kilometers from Sazo Mazo Drih towards west-north between two hills. It is in the south of Nahan Jhudro and north-east of Kalari Gabrband or Goriband at a short distance. The gaber bands bring to memory the settlement of Zoroastrians in this area since gaber band have been related to Zoroastrians by prominent scholars. The carving is on an iron type of rock. The rock panel looks like screen. The humped bulls and unicorns are pecked abundantly herein rock carvings. Two humped bulls are engraved in separated panel above the big panel near top of the rock. On screen type of panel, three pictographs of humped bulls are impressed with jointed legs (Figs-36 A, 36 B, 36 C) and curved horns; while legs of some humped bulls having curved horns are not jointed. Six unicorns (one horned animals) are engraved. (Fig, 37) In most of these images, the man is riding on the unicorn. (Fig-38) In one depicted image; a man has a sward in his hand and he is fighting with animal to be considered leopard. (Fig-39) Two images of Sindh Ibex (fig- 40), one of deer, one of dog, one of lion (Fig-41), one of camel having big hump (Fig-42) and one picture of fox (Fig-43) are chiseled. One leopard is shown attacking Sindh Ibex. Here mostly the legs of the animals are jointed. An image of large animal to be believed dinosaur is imprinted on the rock here in the rock carvings of Pachhal Dhoro.(fig-44) Many religious structures are inscribed here on the iron rock.
Two carts or chariots, yoked with two animals are engraved. (Fig-45) The animals yoked with chariots neither seem to be the bulls nor the horses. If the horses might have been carved with carts, it would have been taken the chariot belonging to Buddha or Buddha’s chariots. I am of the opinion that Chariots are not Buddha’s chariots. So far, I presume that these are the oldest symbol of carts that were in use during the civilization of Mohan-Jo-Daro and later in Sindh till today. The wheels of these carts are not engraved luminously in comparison to the wheel which was explored from Mohan-Jo-Daro. Simplicity of carts shows less expertness and oldness of its tradition of manufacture and usage. Later during the period of civilization of Mohan-Jo-Daro art of making cart developed more glorious. Hence, it needs an authentic research to prove the possible age of these illustrated carts and justification of yoked animals.
(4) Kumb Nanhan Jhudro: This site is situated towards north of “Kalari Gabrband” and towards the west-north of Pachhal Dhoro, surrounded by hills. The engravings are carved on yellowish brown rocks. The wonderful Kumb (storage of water) is near the rock. The gorgeous image of Sindh Ibex is engraved on yellowish brown rock stone. (Fig-46) The Sindh Ibexes commonly have been living in this whole hilly area since ancient time and also in present time Sindh Ibexes can be found. In one engraved scene, a hunter is hunting Sindh Ibex. (Fig-47) Probably hunter has a gun type weapon, after firing, the little iron balls (Chhira) coming out from the shotshell of a gun and penetrating into the body of the wounded and leaping fast Sindh Ibex. It is possible that the hunter has another weapon instead of a gun but continuity of depicted little dots from man to Sinth Ibex indicate to balls (Chhira) of shotshell or cartridge of shotgun. The gun shows the carving of gun period. Here one symbolic image is inscribed. Perhaps it is a consonant “Ya” ( ) (fig-48) of old Brahmin script, for symbolic expression. These three images are carved with raised or pointed styles on white yellowish brown stones and are quite different from other carvings. The carvers had expertness in their work. There may be more carvings carved in such style on yellowish brown rock but the rock is now collapsed and carvings have become disappeared. Some other pictographs of leopards in group are chiseled on the reddish rock here at Kumb Nahan Jhudro. (Fig-49) The view of Nahan Jhudro Kumb is very astonishing.
(5) Hurr Dhoro: Hurr Dhoro is towards north-east of Nahan Jhudro Dhoro. The rock is collapsed so the several heavy stones carved with images are scattered around the Dhoro. Here pictographs of Sindh Ibex, (Fig: 50) deer and Wild sheep (Fig: 51) are engraved at large scale. Several images of Sindh Ibex, many pictures of Wild Sheep and deer are chiseled. In one depiction a man is letting Wild Sheep to graze a gross with his hands. (Fig: 52) In another scene, a wild Sheep is roped with Killo (a wooden peg driven into the earth for tying an animal) or may be a man is holding rope. (Fig: 53) In one scene two wild sheep and one young wild sheep are represented. One image of pig is as well engraved. (Fig: 54) One image of woman is emblazoned. On the both sides of the woman pitcher pots (Earthenware pots for water) are engraved. (Fig: 55) The right hand of a woman is on the pitcher. Here on the stones near Hurr Dhora, the left Swastika (Fig: 56) is inscribed while a humped bull having straight horns is depicted. (Fig: 57) The bull is roped with killo or peg. More than four imageries of stupa were observed here on rock panels. (Figs: 58 A, 58 B) Some stupas have stair for climbing to the top of stupa. The word or symbolic expression is inscribed near one stupa similar to ; perhaps it is most probably Kharoshthi writing or it may be Brahmin script. The other representations of ancient writings were viewed here on rocks at Hurr Dhoro. The image of palm or palmy bush (Peesh) was also observed. (Fig: 59) in one scene, a matchlock gun is chiseled with Sindh Ibex which appears to be considered as Ibex is hunted with a gun. May be, the matchlock gun was engraved later with Sindh Ibex. However, the representations of boat, dog, leopard, board of Notrin game, cut marks, and complex religious words and structures are also inscribed on rock at Hurr Dhoro.
(6) Bhoora Darra: The site of Bhoora Dara (Yellowish Brown Hillocks) is in opposite to Peepal Kumb towards north and it is located at a distance of 3 kilometers from Nahan Jhudro towards east on the bank of a course of water flowing to Nai Nalli. The two sites are here, closed to one another. One is towards west while the other is towards east at a very little distance. The eastern site is richer in rock carvings than the western. The carvings are on the darkish brown and reddish brown rocks at large scale. All the expressions are chiseled in to the rock with pounding and engraving technique. It seems that the carvers were experienced and experts in their job. The carvings and engravings of horse, Fig: 60) Sindh Ibex, (Fig: 61) Stupas, (Fig: 62 A, 62 B) symbolic signs or expressions in ancient scripts are marked on the stones. (Fig: 63) The abstract inscriptions or expressions are chiseled in geometric designs. A portrait of a man is also pecked, it give the impression that artisan had tried to depict similar to Buddha. Maybe he had portrayed another priest of Buddhism. The images of Sindh Ibex and a bird are engraved nearby his legs. (Fig: 64) The images of bird and Sindh Ibex near this depicted man’s legs, point to Buddhist’s legends concerning to Buddha’s life passed in wild. The stupa is also represented beside depiction of man. A board of ancient game of Sindh “Notrin” is also inscribed here. (Fig: 65) The geometrical designs, cut marks, cross marks and cup marks are pounded at large scale. The pictures or depictions of this rock carving site are in large quantity but some of these have been included.
(7) Kalri Dhoro: Kalri Dhoro is situated towards southwest of Pachhal Dhoro near an ancient settlement of Khaunthi which is on top of hillock. The Kalri gaber bund is constructed with stones for colleting and storing rain water in little valley near ancient site of Khaunthi. The art of rock carving is adorned with pounding and pecking techniques on sandstone rock at Kalri Dhoro. The rock is collapsed, therefore, many curved heavy stones are scattered on earth near hillock. Sindh Ibexes, hunters, dogs, deer, symbol of right Swastika, cut marks, peacock having religious representations, a two humped Bactrian camel, symbolic expressions like-shoe (Getalo) are pecked. Probably, the representation similar to shoe, appears to be considered as “Buddha’s footprint” which enlightens spiritual mythology of Buddhism. Although, shoe-like representation is some complicated for saying Buddha’s footprints but this area was highly influenced by Buddhism. The mountainous region including deserted zone of Kachho had remained hub of Buddhism from Mauryans dynasty to Brahman dynasty. The area of Kachho near lap of foothills from Sehwan towards north beyond up to Jecubabad (Khan Garah) was “Buddhiya Pegano” in Brahman dynasty which is mentioned in Chachnama. Later, Buddhism existed in Sindh up to Soomra dynasty (MH Panhwar, Illustrated Atlas of Soomra Kingdom, 2003). The remains of physically constructed stupas still exist in Khirthar mountainous range from Naig Sharif to Gorakh hill and in deserted area from village Chhini (Dadu) to Thul (Jecobabad). On other hand, in rock carvings, stupas are inscribed in abundance. Near Garang Dhoro rock carving site, two stupas are also constructed with stones. Even, one sign of shoe is represented on religious structure in rock carvings, in the vicinity of Gaj River (9). Even, in Larkano district Buddha have become caste. Hence, shoe-like demonstration can be considered as symbol of footprints of Buddha. Either the carvers were less experienced or they were not conceptually or spiritually clear regarding spiritual concept of footprints of Buddha. Thus, they have inscribed shoe instead of footprint. There is no another reason, concept, purpose, perspective or background come into mind. What is other logical background for demonstrating shoe-like sign herein rock art?? It is an unanswered question. However, one depiction comes into view to be believed a symbol of Yoni-lignum which is also engraved on rock at Kalri Dhoro. Here on rock, other symbolic words are furthermore pecked on rock. While observing, the different religious symbols, it appears to be believed that the carvings at this site might have been executed or commissioned in different periods. The people belonging to dissimilar faiths lived here in different periods and they had chiseled the rock carvings according to their socio-religious concepts, observations and daily life.
(8) Zaini Dhoro: Zaini Dhoro can be measured as main rock carving site in neighborhood of Nai Nalli. It is towards north of rock carving site of Nahan Jhudro Kumb. Here are two sites of rock carving closed to each other. Both come into view to be executed in different periods. The rock carvings are chiseled with pounding, pecking and pointing techniques. Humped bulls having jointed legs, some complex or abstract religious expressions and Sindh Ibexes are engraved. In one depiction two leopards are shown fighting with each other. Stupas are represented with a different type of structure or construction. An archer keeping arch with arrow in hands is shown with pointing technique. In another scene, an archer demonstrated as hunting Sindh Ibex with arch and arrow. A separate scene of man hunting Sindh Ibex with Sword is symbolized with pounding method. Here, a symbolic word like ( ), perhaps of an old Brahmin script is inscribed between two complex or unidentified religious structures or concepts. The camel with pointing technique, leopards, cut marks, peacocks, geometrical designs with symbolic word expressions including Kharoshthi inscriptions are engraved here in rock carving art of ancient people. In a scene, two leopards attacking mother cow and its calf are carved. Many footprints are represented with pointing technique in one separate panel of rock. Most probably, these footprints appear to be considered as “Buddha’s footprints, according to spiritual mythology of Buddhism. In one scene, a camel with saddle on its back is engraved and the halter of camel is in man’s hand while man is walking by foot. A man is illustrated in a scene with sword in his hand while fighting with dinosaur like animal. It is presumed that these rock carvings might have been engraved in different times. While living here, the people belonging to different faiths and periods created this unmatched art on rocks. They have represented their social and religious life through the rock carving art.
Gaj Nai is powerful hill torrent. The water flows in its bed throughout year. In its vicinity, there are many Kumbs (springs) and Dhoras (depression of water collection). In close proximity to the dhoras, the rock carving sites are situated. Close to Shakloi dhoro, the rock carving art of prehistoric, Bronze Age and historic periods is engraved on rocks. According to Zulfiqar Kalhoro, the depictions on rock panels also belong to Buddhist period, medieval and post medieval periods to be found here (10). The wild sheep, Sindh Ibexes, attacking leopards, fighting bulls and other animals are chiseled. The scene of hunting, combat, archers, arrows, swords, shields, men riding on camelback and horseback, scenes of dancing of men women and multi storeyed stupas are represented. The sign of footprint is also engraved on a religious structure. Near Loi Dan Dhori, Maet Dhori, Gunar Kund, Bazgar Dhori and Sukey Dand dhori on rock panels, unicorns, religious structures, bison, horsemen, felines, camels, camel-riders, Sindh Ibexes, hunters, men, women, unicorns similar to shown on Indus seals and wild goats are represented. These depictions can be considered to be of prehistoric and historic periods.
Garang Dhoro: The Grang Dhoro is closed to Mamani Dhoro, Hengar Doro and Dabhari Dhoro in the vicinity of Mammani hilly stream. It is 35 kilometers from village Wahi Pandh. Thus, it is now become familiar as 35 stop where the transportation halt before proceeding to Gorakh hill station. The Garang Dhoro is along the road which leads to Gorakh hills. While going Gorakh, the site of rock carvings at Garang Dhoro is close to 35 stop along left side of the road. Here, Sindh Ibexes are engraved with pounding and pointing techniques. Fire temple, board of an old game notrin, cop marks, pig, cut marks, camels and weapons are chiseled with pecked technique. Here, in one scene a man holding halter of camel. This rock art on rock panels of this Dhoro appears to be of most ancient period. But some names in Sindhi language and an image of helicopter seem to be engraved recently.
Kukrani Dhoro: Kukrani hill torrent is towards south of Nai Nalli in Khirthar range. The Dhoro of Kukrani is in the bed of Kukrani hilly stream. The rock is crumbled, so several rock carvings are disappeared. In the rest engravings on rock, men, Sindh Ibexes, leopards and weapons are imprinted with pounding technique. In one picture, two men are shown fighting with each other. The men have swords and shields in their hands and tied waistbands. A scene is illustrated in which leopard is shown while talking hunted little Sindh Ibex in its mouth. Leopard has caught hunted little Sindh Ibex from its head and Ibex is revealed hanging downward from mouth of leopard. A view of vast Kukrani Dhoro is very gorgeous and magnificent.
From different symbolic expressions and representations, it can easily be said that while living here in the mountainous vicinity, this wonderful ancient work of rock art was done in different ages by the ancient people. The splendid rock art of ancient people reflects over their beliefs, social, religious, spiritual and conceptual life.
Except these sites, there are many other sites situated in vicinity of other hilly streams. This sort of precious legacy must be recorded and preserved; otherwise, the natural disasters like heavy rains and earthquakes will erode and erase this valuable heritage. These ancient rock carvings and inscriptions furthermore need to pay a heed for authentic research and comparative study.
The described rock carving sites were visited in different attempts. I first visited and observed this matchless heritage of rock carvings of Sindh in 2008 with the help of Ghulam Mustafa Laghari. Later, time to time, I used to visit the sites of rock carvings in Khirthar Range for collecting stuff with the help of my dear friends Abdul Majeed Jamali, Ali Ghulam Laghari, Ghulam Mustafa Laghari, Abdul Ghafoor Laghari, Ayaz Qasmani Rustamani, Abid Lashari, Aseer Imtiaz Brihmani and Wafa Inayat Rustamani. I am grateful to all friends for an unforgettable cooperation, guidance and company. Special thanks to Haji Ahmed Laghari, Ali Muhammad Laghari and Ranjho Khan Laghari for food arrangements.
1, Nani Gopal Majumdar, Explorations in Sindh, Indus Publication Karachi, 1931, p-31 to 43.
2, HT Lambrick, Sindh-A General Introduction, Sindhi Adabi Board Jamshoro, 1986, P-420
3 MH Panhwar, Anwar Abro, Khirthar, Eni Publication, p-24 to 25
5, Chach Nama, Ali Kufi, Sindh Adabi Board Jamshoro, 1992
6, Maulai Sheedai, Janat-ul-Sindh, Sidhica Academy Karachi, 2008, p-50
7, Maulai Sheedai, Janat-ul-Sindh, Sidhica Academy Karachi, 2008, p-59
9, Zulfqar Kahoro, the rock carvings of Shakloi Doro, TIAC Islamabad), 2010, p-328
10, Zulfqar Kahoro, the rock carvings of Shakloi Doro, TIAC Islamabad), 2010, p-325
The art of rock carving in Sindh, Pakistan