Pudukottai, Tamil Nadu: Ancient and rare rock murals reflecting the pre-historic character of the district have been discovered in the Tirumayyam Fort premises, an official said today.
The existence of rock paintings which depict dances that existed in 5000 BC was known earlier, historian and District Chief Educational Officer N Arulmurugan said.
The paintings, made with red colour painting material, were found during a study of the Fort by a team of historians, including himsef, he told reporters.
"The rock paintings at the Fort reflect the pre-historic character of the district... They are older than the murals of Sithannavasal, painted between 7th and 9th AD," he said.
The painting on one side of the cap shaped rock near the entrance of the fort had faded. But on the other side one can see row of paintings including one depicting man and a woman lying down in reclining posture.
Another painting is a dance programme wherein a couple are playing some musical instruments and another couple dancing holding their hands. This type of dance was mentioned in ancient Tamil literature 'Tolkapiam' as "Undattu" (a dance), he said adding a spectator, probably the queen or the chief of the area, had been separately drawn in a big size.
On the northern side of rock also many images had been painted. One of them showed several men following a woman in a queue.
Paintings had also been found on the roof of the cave between the Shiva and Vishnu temples in the fort. Some paintings show about the use of animals as a mode of transport and use of weapons made from rock for hunting animals.
Arulmurugan urged the archaeological department to protect the paintings.
The district was one of home of pre-historic man. A very large number of burial sites have been found.
In and around Pudukkottai, there are many vestiges of the oldest habitations of man and some of the lithic records known in the south.