A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal; Published by Penguin India
Ganga at the Chunar
Ganga’s southward drift is arrested only when it nudges into the Vindhyas near Chunar, near Varanasi. It is the only place in the plains where a hill commands such a view over the river, making Chunar Fort that coveted strategic location. It was once said that he who controlled the Chunar Fort also controlled the destiny of India. The walls resonate with tales of King Vikramaditya, the Mughals, Sher Shah Suri, and Governor General Warren Hastings. Just southwest of the fort are the quarries that supplied the stone in the third century BC used by the Mauryans to carve the lions of Sarnath. These lions are now India’s national symbol.
Bhimbetka’s Deep History
There are plenty of remains in Stone Age sites scattered across India. Bhimbetka in central India is one of the most extensive sites in the world. Although discovered only in the 1950s, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hilly terrain is littered with hundreds of caves and rock shelters that appear to have been inhabited almost continuously for over 30,000 years. For instance, the finding of beads and ornaments made from ostrich eggshells show that the bird was once common in India though it is extinct now. Bhimbetka has rock paintings of animals and hunters from the Stone Age as well as of warriors on horseback from a later time, the Bronze Age.
When looking at the dancing deity at Bhimbetka with his bangles and trident, one cannot help but recall the image of the dancing Shiva which is at least 10,000 years later.
The Flood is drawn from India?
The Indian coast line is very interesting. We know that it has moved several kilometers inland to roughly approximate what we now recognize. Does this account for the fact that Indians too have their account of the great flood?
According to Manu, the king of the Dravidas, was warned by God Vishnu about the flood. So he built a large boat for seeds and animals. Vishnu in the form of a fish then towed it to safety.
Manu and the survivors then set out to rebuild civilization. Noah’s ark clearly is an inspiration from this old story.
Cities under the Sea
While the sea moved inland all along the coast, computer simulation suggests that there were two places where very large land masses were flooded. One was at the Gulf of Khambhat, south of Sourashtra peninsula of Gujarat. The other landmass extended south from the Tamil coast and would have included Sri Lanka. Were there large human population living in these areas at the time of the floods? It is difficult to tell since the sites are under water. Two underwater locations were identified in 2001 in the Gulf of Khambhat that seems to show remains of large settlements that would have been flooded 7,500 years ago.