Journey into the prehistory


Stromatolite fossil forest

We learnt that the day before Gurupurnima our Chandra Maa published an article on Washington Post. Another important recognition for the high content of her work. To her we wish all the best so that she can make fully concrete her projects, for which she will come again in India to work with the kids of Shri Agoreshwar Gurukul school.


Rock  paintings in Vindhyachal


After Gurupurnima, we went for a survey to mountains Vindhya area. I have heard of the rock paintings of this area and so I asked to some acquaintance for information, because I wanted to check if the spot could be interesting for a school trip with kids. Some friends wait for us on the spot and we leave in thirteen packed into three cars. It took about two hours to cover the ninety kilometers until Sonbhadra. On the way we meet an elephant and Viviana takes the opportunity to cover a short distance on the animal’s back, an experience not to be missed.


Viviana on the elephant


S.D.M. is waiting for us with his car and a police escort and invites us to the Circuit House for lunch. A professor, a retired principal, reaches us and explains to us the characteristic of the rock art of that province, which has twenty five sites of the around one hundred of this area on mountains Vindhya. He is an ancient history expert and has discovered the most of this spots. Some are in easily practicable areas, others can be reached only after many hours of walking. It drizzles and so we decide to visit a couple of places nearby, a hill with paintings known as Panchamuki, by the name of a small temple on the top of the hill, and a fossil park not distant from there.

Stromatolite park


A Sonbhadra police car joins our procession, now composed of six cars, and put sirens on to open the way through the long line of trucks. To reach this park it is necessary to drive along a dirt road winding through villages of peasant who run curious attracted by the unusual procession of cars. Discovered on the second half of the 19th century, this park is an area of about twenty five hectares and hold stromatolites, fossil seaweeds, and organisms dating back to one billion four hundred years ago, incorporated in sedimentary rocks. These stromatolites are very rare and have been studied on successive stage by Indian and international teams of researchers.




Panchamuki caves wait for us on the way back. They are on a hill from which one dominates the plain below and where there is a renovated small Hindu temple with some architectural stone pieces scattered nearby dating back to previous ages. In the rocks at the basis are carved symbols interpreted as an unknown writing. Inside there are some statues probably dating back to the first millennium A.C. and a Shivalinga with five protuberances on the top, and that’s why is called Pancha (five) Mukhi (faces) Shiva.

Panchamukhi Shiva


The rock paintings in these caves are among the most ancient and in one of them are represented symbols of a proto-writing dating back to a period preceding Harappan civilization. The professor has written many books and invites us to visit his personal museum, located inside a room of his place. He has collected stone tools and weapons found in the caves, and many odd things and relics regarding the ancient tribes that once lived on mountains Vindhya. When we come back to the ashram under a pouring rain, it is night already.


A prehistoric writing?


After the excitement due to the preparations for Gurupurnima and its taking place, the activities of the ashram are going back to normal. The school and the hospital have immediately gone back to their usual rhythms.


Some homework


Enrolments go on very slowly and many kids keep on arriving. We will have to wait for some time to know the real number of the pupils. The kids have time to practice plastic arts and have fun modeling clay, a play that every kid loves, and so they have a try creating different subjects.


Kneading clay


With their hands full of water and clay, they extract common and imaginative shapes that once dried up are painted with tempera colours. Proud and satisfied, they will playfully show their works once finished.


These fruits are delicious


The Ganges has begun rising again and seems to want to equal her previous records, we hope she changes her mind. In the meantime another calf is born, the second this year.


The calf