While researching prehistoric sites and megalithic tombs in Karnataka I stumbled upon an article on Navil Theerth, near Saundatti. The article was about a meter high stone slab with etchings on it which was believed to be prehistoric art; the stone slab was discovered in 1978 by a well known archaeologist of Karnataka; the drawings on that stone slab were similar to drawings on tablets from Indus Valley. Impressive! The article gave out an approximate location of the stone. I guessed with that much info I should be able to locate it provided it's still intact and unmoved.
October 20, 2012. I left home by 6-30, a brief stop at Marewaad to pick up Malatesh and off we went. Unfortunately Dharwad-Saundatti road had not seen much progress in 7 months, with the tarmac stripped off, the road was in terrible condition till Inamhongal. Pointed stones with sharp edges lay scattered all over.. sharp enough to pierce car tyres. Inamhongal-Saundatti stretch was untouched the ride felt heavenly. Renuka Sagar was in view, we drove around it and climbed the ghat section towards Munvalli. At the summit of the hill is Navil Theerth Dam complex. We turned left into the road leading to the dam and started looking for a the stone slab.. nothing. We were about to park the car under a Neem tree at the transport office, we saw a person walking.. surely he must be living here. Perhaps he could help us.
I showed Mr.Shilledhar the sketch of the stone in my notebook and asked if he had seen this stone. He was suddenly alert- "what will you do to it if I tell you where it is?" I assured him the stone will not come to any harm, we just want to see it and take few pictures. He said it's in a tomb near the the reservoir bank and volunteered to take us there. We drove down hill, parked the car the locked gate across the road leading to the dam. After a short walk we could see the tomb with a foot high black slab with Persian or Urdu letters engraved on it. No, this is not what we are looking for. Back the gate Shilledhar happened to meet his uncle Imamsaheb and cousin Hassansaheb. Imamsaheb, a cattle herd most of his life, claimed to have seen the stone atop the hill but he wasn't sure of the stone would still be there. On these hills are several dozen windmills. Construction activity might have moved stones. Even though this location did not match what was given in the article I wanted to check.
We were five of now, we scanned almost half a kilometer of the plateau's edge, no meter high stone slab with a round top. Imamsaheb said it might have got picked up by stone sellers who come here with tractor-trailers. Oh no! I wish we have missed locating the prehistoric monument... hope its standing some where and we rediscover it.
At one point we saw a spot that showed signs of a burial site.. the area would be slightly raised and the stones partially buried.
We could see a group monkeys playing on the trees. Sandstone rock wall next to the temple.
Tapovan. Perhaps Swamiji had spent many of his days in this cave.
This the smallest cave. Though small it was spacious enough for 4 or 5 adults.
Having known this to be a prehistoric site I got busy looking for stone implements. Most pebbles were well rounded but to my surprise I got a chocolate colored cuboid shaped stone! That's something rare. The gorge is a straight kilometer before it turns left and then curves to the right towards Sindhogi-Munvalli.
alive is awesome. I was trying to imagine a prehistoric ancestor in Malatesh's place bathing after a tiring hunting session.. couple of his tribesmen also bathing close by.
On the way out, we stopped by another possible burial site.
We drove down the ghat section towards Munvalli, Tallur was our destination.