Hazaribagh Rock Shelters

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Location: Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, India

Who Considers it Sacred? Paleolithic and Neolithic man sheltered here; contains historically significant rock art; significant evidence of Early Man here.

Significance: Hazaribagh was the site of some of the oldest human settlements in the Indus valley, and one of the most ancient human civilizations known. Indian civilization had its beginnings in the Indus valley.

The Threat: Industrial development

Preservation Status: Coal mining in the early 20th century, and dam-building in the late 20th century, have destroyed irreplaceable prehistoric artifacts and sites in the region, to say nothing of the deforestation and displacement of local people that these projects have caused. An expansion plan for coal mining, proposed around 1986, would destroy even more sacred sties, forests, and endangered animal species in the region. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) managed to stop construction on the first series of planned Super Thermal Power Stations, which would have supported the coal mining; however the mining itself has begun. Vigorous appeals have been made to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Population at Geneva, and to numerous human rights groups, which have probably caused the World Bank’s denial of a loan to the mining company.

For More Information: Preserving Sacred Places in Jharkhand, India; Sacred Sites Newsletter Volume XII, Number 1, Fall 2001; Prehistoric Rock Art of Hazaribagh

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