KURNOOL: Parliamentary Standing Committee Chairman for Tourism TG Venkatesh said here on Tuesday that Kethavaram rock paintings are being strongly pitched for a slot in UNESCO’s world heritage sites list.
The caves, located at Kethavaram of Orvakal mandal, are home to rock art that dates back to the Palaeolithic age. Paintings of deer, bulls, foxes, rabbits and humans made by ancient inhabitants have been a hit among locals. This site is just one kilometre away from Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy Kurnool airport and has tremendous tourism potential if promoted appropriately by the government.
Following the UNESCO recognition of Ramappa temple in Warangal, the historic sites in Rayalaseema also crave for such an exalted status, said district tourism officer B Venkateswarlu.
On the failure to make Kethavaram a permanent fixture in the tourism itinerary, he said that every year overseas visitors come there to study rock art. He said that if amenities are improved for stay and recreation, it will draw more tourists. The approach road to the caves is not motorable, Venkateswarlu said.
Ketavaram rock paintings of human and animal forms, which were widely studied by European archeologists, are a timeless treasure that Kurnool district possesses. Shorn off government support in preserving and maintaining, the caves have become a place to laze around by aimless people, who also defaced the rocks. Over 100 figures were drawn on the flat surface of basalt rocks, possibly with an acidic pen or iron red oxide. These figures are classified as the art of Mesolithic to the megalithic period ranging from 6,000 BC to 200 AD.
Venkatesh has taken up the issue and it is in an advanced stage of being referred to UNESCO. A rock painting festival was held in 2015 and UNESCO officials were invited to participate in the fest, but nothing happened after that, said the Tourism officer....