Launch for the UN stamp on 5k Ladakh rock art

Armed with a camera, GPS, distance meter and binoculars, Quentin Devers, a permanent researcher at the 34-year-old National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), has been combing the vertical boundaries of Ladakh, India's tough left brain. - For nuggets of its pre-Buddhist history overlooked since 2009.

Devers' treacherous search for rocky archives has also produced exciting sightings of a series of inanimate animal figures.

Yaks, ibex, camels, sheep, elephants, lizards, canines, horses, goats with twisted horns called 'markors' and even hunters, warriors and other human figures are among the thousands of stone carvings dating back to the Bronze Age and (spanning from the third millennium BC until the first year of our era, and has surprised the French researcher, who has been working closely with a group of heritage enthusiasts, including zoology professor Tashi Ldawa and independent researchers Sonam Choldan and Viraf Mehta, in the last five years.Now, he is launching for this rare rock art to be carried under the Unesco umbrella.

Found in the approximately 400 rock carving sites of Ladakh, these petroglyphs have clues about the region's centennial links with geographically closest regions of Central Asia , Afghanistan and Tibet.

The epicenter of rock carving culture was in Ladakh

The excavation of graves in Central Asia has thrown up implements whose decorations bear motifs such as curvy animals similar to these rock carvings,” said Devers, tracing Ladakh’s petroglyphs back to the period spanning 3rd millennium BC to 1st millennium AD.

This is why on October 31, incidentally the day his stony workplace was reborn as a Union Territory, Devers argued that these ancient rock carvings were worthy of Unesco’s glory dust.

Ladakh has been on the periphery of rock carving culture, Quentin Devers told TOI. “But the rock sculptures found here far exceed the precious ones found in the Gilgit area in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK). This means that the epicenter of the rock carving culture was in Ladakh, ”added Devers, who believes in this quiet heritage of petroglyphs along with the fortresses, inscriptions and other relics left by the various kingdoms that remind of 'Game of Thrones 'from Ladakh, among others. , they are often neglected thanks to Ladakh's advertising argument as 'Little Tibet'.

In addition to detecting places in the movie '3 Idiots', what attracts tourists to Ladakh is the fact that it is sold as a melting pot of Buddhist culture, Devers said, explaining why no one has paid attention to his pre-inheritance. Buddhist despite his tourism. potential.

Local residents happily ignored the value of the strange sculptures and assemblies of broken rocks in their neighborhood until Devers began asking about them. Devers visited Ladakh for the first time in 2007 to help an independent researcher and a PhD student map some rock-carving sites and was surprised to find centuries-old remains at each corner. Unlike the historical treasures in France that are buried under vegetation, these remains that may have been thrown into the desert 5,000 years ago did not require excavation.

In his subsequent visits since 2009, several challenges would make the fieldwork for the Frenchman, born in the Alps, literally uphill. Reaching some of the rock art meant clinging to the rocks and trying not to die. “At first, I had an ego. I thought I could climb all the mountains. But now, I'm careful, ”says Devers, 34. In addition to sunlight, he counts winters as a trusted friend who helps him cross the icy waters of Zanskar and Indo.

It is not surprising that the lack of central heating in Ladakh does not discourage the Frenchman who has lived there for almost three years. Although living on noodles, dal-rice and barley means that it takes a few days for your stomach to acclimatize to cheese, Devers believes that the quality of life in Ladakh is much better than in remote areas of France. There are five teachers for three students in some schools here, he said.

In addition to the impressive petroglyph views, his grueling surveys have also given him a body of steel. I recently ran the full marathon in Ladakh without training.

This frieze of human figures in Zanskar probably belongs to the Iron Age