The archeological excavations of the sites in a place locally called as "Peacock Hill" in Bellary district in Karnataka throws up some interesting connections to the leads given in the Tamil texts on the migration of people of Dwaraka after Mahabharata war.
This place – a cluster of hills in Sanganakallu and Kupgal (sounds sandana-k-kal in Tamil) is found to have remnants of a settlement of cowherds around 3000 BC!
All the findings point to the life style of Cow herds, better known as Yadavas.
Interestingly, inscriptions have already been unearthed in Bellary on Yadava kings who called this place as Sindavadi. They claimed themselves as descendants of Chandra vamsam.
This goes well with my contention that people left in two groups after the deluge in Dwaraka. One group went along the river Saraswathy to the North and settled en route. This is now known as Saraswathy (Harappan) civilization showing remnants of a Vedic way of life.
Another group left southward under the guidance of Sage Agasthya, This is recorded in a commentary by Nacchinaarkiniyar in two places. (Already written in Migration from Dwaraka to Tamilnadu.) Agasthya brought 18 families of Kings, 18 families of higher clans and numerous peasant classes. The Cow herding Yadavas were brought to Tamilnadu by him. They brought with them the Balarama cult and the skills of ploughing. Purananuru and Kalitthogai are testimony to Balarama cult which could not have spread in Tamil lands but for the people who were Balarama's followers or worshippers. The Aaicchiar kuravai of Silappadhikaram also begins with noting bad omens indicating bad times – a kind of reminiscence of bad omens seen in Dwaraka before the deluge that resulted in the uprooting of people who were devoted to Lord Krishna.
I used to wonder why they came to South India. Astrologically speaking there seems to be a reason. If Venus is seen in the eastern sky, one must not travel northward. The opposite direction is good (South). Sighting Venus in the east can happen in early morning hours only. If Venus is in the west, one must not travel Southward. This is called Prati Shukra, Bhaoma, Buddha dosha.
If at that time Venus was rising in the east, a sage of Agasthya's stature would not have recommended a northward travel. He would have guided the people to move to the South. This resulted in the division of people heading towards opposite directions. This division of the people perhaps led to those gone to the North, call those going to the south as Dravida (those who ran away).
It is perhaps due to this dosha, the latter day writers added an exception to this dosha that those who were migrating due to a calamity need not adhere to this dosha!
But people were brought to south and many of them settled down en route.
The explorations at Peacock hill might be about one such group that settled down on the way.
We can say with certainty that a group of them settled in Kudremukh - kudremukh is mentioned in Pura Nanuru.(158). Also in Siru paaNaattru-p-padai (84 -113)
The people who settled in Kudremukh were the VeLir – who were never accepted by Tamil kings.
Kudremukh is near Mangalore whereas this Peacock hill is inland. But these areas form a chain of hills which were associated with the different kings of VeLir lineage.
The name "peacock" to the place now archeologically explored, makes me think if this was the place of King Baegan who lent his shawl to a peacock that was shivering in the cold. The name of the place as Sanganakallu sounds like 'sandana-k-kal' in Tamil – may be there were sandalwood trees in this hill. From Sangam texts we know that the places of these kings (VeLirs) were rich in forest and hill products.
Peacock feathers (reminding of Krishna), sandal paste and tending cows are all symbols of Krishna worshippers.
Yet another VeLir in Mysore region was IrungoVeL who refused to marry Paari magaLir.
His lineage traced to Dwaraka or Durupada of Mahabharata times is mentioned by poet Kapilar in Puranauru – 201
From there the final destination of these people was near Madurai (Podhigai) where Mullai lands were created (kaadazhitthu naadaakki..).
Perhaps Agasthya was right in choosing the south bound route. The people who came to the South flourished and were immortalized by Sangam poets, whereas the north bound people who settled on the banks of Saraswathy lost their habitat later (end of Harappan civilization). They might have shifted to other locales and their distinct identity was lost in due course.
Kupgal ashmound has been partially destroyed
by the quarrying activities of local villagers
For more information, click
The article on the excavations from
Early village unearthed
One of the earliest village settlements in South India has been discovered at the Sanganakallu complex of hills near Bellary, write Santosh Martin and Sunil Kumar M
Bellary is changing the course of history. While the huge deposits of iron ore in Bellary are rewriting the political history and geography of the state, a chain of hills close to Bellary is adding to the interesting history and culture of human settlements in India.
About eight km from Bellary is the Sanganakallu complex of hills (also referred to as peacock hills) where archaeologists have discovered one of the earliest village settlements in South India. These settlements date from the Neolithic period (3000 BC – to the beginning of the Christian era).
The first settlers here are said to be the ones who established the first villages in South India. These settlers traded stone tools among the Neolithic people in that region. The region is considered the largest stone tool producing centre anywhere in South India.
Neolithic art on boulders
The Sanganakallu village settlement, spread over an area of 1,000 acres, is considered the largest village complex known so far. The rock art that can be seen on the boulders of the hill chain is evidence of rituals and social ceremonies involving ringing rocks, still preserved by way of hand-percussion marks.
Grinding grooves where stone axes were polished, shallow concave surfaces on boulders where grain was processed, and dykes where the dolerite was exploited to manufacture stone tools on a large scale bears testimony to the rich Neolithic culture and the skills of the people.
The people who settled at Sanganakallu were the earliest agriculturists who cultivated small millets and pulses. They kept cattle, and sheep and cattle domestication was prevalent in the area. They erected separate areas for dumping dung, including sheep and goat dung. These heaps have survived till today in the form of ash mounds. One can see them at Kupgal, Kudathini, etc. The people of Sanganakallu traded stone tools to the other Neolithic people in the wider Rayalaseema region. By about 2000 BC, this settlement was the largest stone tool producing centre anywhere in South India. The hill complex of Sanganakallu preserves the earliest houses of mud and stone, rock art evidence for rituals and social ceremonies. By 1500 BC, cemeteries were created to bury the dead. In fact different types of burial structures have been documented from these hills.
Sanganakallu has been an archaeologist's delight because of a high concentration of findings in a small area. In fact, archaelogists from the Karnatak University and Cambridge University have been working at this site since 1997. Over the years, they have carried out a series of multidisciplinary investigations. Many archaeologists from all over the country and abroad have worked in this area and the findings have been published in many leading journals devoted to archaeology.
Many publications are in progress including a 1,000 page scientific study. The entire area has been digitally mapped and every millimeter of the cultural landscape has been recorded on these maps.
Sanganakallu is not the only interesting archaeological site in Bellary. There are several more. But many of them are getting destroyed due to widespread quarrying and mining activities in Bellary. Luckily, for Sanganakallu and other sites, a museum similar to that in Hampi is coming up at the Kannada and Culture complex, adjacent to the Deputy Commissioner's residence in Patel Nagar, Bellary. A fully built two-storied building (about 8000 sq ft) has been made available by the district administration for the museum. Many of the findings from the Sanganakallu site will be displayed at this museum.
The proposed museum complex aims to bring into focus the history and cultural heritage of Bellary and its environs. It aims to inculcate in the people a commitment to preserving their heritage with a deep sense of pride and concern. There are also plans to create an audio-visual time capsule of landmark of the people of the region through the ages.