Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Blog

Welcome to Lumbini, Nepal – the birthplace of Buddha

Petroglyphs in the Diamer-Basha Dam Area

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 6, 2010

The petroglyph inscriptions date from the Epipaleolithic period (15,000 to 10,000 BC) to the pre-Islamic “golden era” of Buddhism (occuring most likely before 6th century AD).
In areas across northern Pakistan there are thousands of rock engravings that date back more than 10,000 years.

Countless rock carvings and inscriptions can be found through gorges and mountain passes in the Diamer District of Northern Pakistan. These petroglyphs, or rock engravings, date as early to the Epipaleolithic period and chronicle up their way in time to the rise of Buddhism, making them a timeline of sorts for the region.

So far, more than 50,000 stone carvings and 5,000 inscriptions have been found on cliffs, rock faces and boulders at the different sites. The oldest petroglyphs picture wild animals that were etched by hunters and gatherers from the Holocene period more than 10,000 years ago. Eurasian style animal drawings were later introduced during the first millennium BC. Depictions of Buddhist iconography and other architectural forms can also be found engraved.

But eventually, these petroglyphs will be submerged under water due to the construction of the Daimer-Basha Dam on the Indus River, which the Pakistani government approved in 2006. Efforts are being made to document and preserve the petroglyphs.

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