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Archaeological Exploration

ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXPLORATION OF
JONK RIVER
special reference to Mahasamund District
2013

River valley cultures have been cradle of the ancient and powerful civilizations. All the cultures of ancient world are flourished on the bank of the rivers. River valleys have been since prehistoric times, the focus for human settlements. In India, the earliest occupation sites of prehistoric man those of the hand axe culture of the Paleolithic period are situated along the courses of perennial rivers.From the time immemorial, river valley has not merely remained as witness for the theaters of human civilizations, survival and in some cases their extinction. In India several legends and myths narrating their origin, flow and floods, and in a few cases their disappearance, have come down to us through oral traditions. Some of the major rivers like Saptasindhu,Ganga,Yamuna,Narmada and Krishna have been detailed in ancient literatures like Rigveda, Epics, the Puranas and the Buddhists Hteratures literatures.

The State of Ghhattisgarh is blessed by the numerous water bodies. The major rivers of Chhattisgarh are the Mahanadi, the Indravati and the Godavari, which drains most of the state along with their many tributaries The other rivers serving the state are Rihand, Ren, Sakari, Haup, Maniyari, Kharun, Hasdo, Arpa, Shivnath, Mand, Eb, Jonk, Pary, Kelo, Udanti, Lilagar and so on. Many of the important cities and towns of Chhattisgarh are situated on the banks of rivers. The river Kharun flows by the capital city of Raipur. Bilaspur is situated in the river bank of Arpa, Taalagaon on the bank of Maniyari river and Jagdalpur is situated on the banks of Indravati river. Rajim, an important pilgrimage lies by the confluence of three rivers, namely, Mahanadi, Pairi and Sondhul. The renowned Danteshwari temple at Dantewada is situated on the confluence of Shankini and Dankini rivers. Thus, the rivers of Chhattisgarh are important from the social, economic, . religious, and even political point of view to the state.

The river Jonk originates form the Sunabera plateau (20°29'59.66"N; 82°26'35.08"E) in Koraput district of Odisha. After crossing the rocky terrain, the river enters into the Maraguda Valley, where a huge water reservoir built at Dharmabanda on the Jonk near the village Patora, which is locally known as Patora Dam. The Jonk river valley forms part of the drainage system of the River Mahanadi located in the western part of Odisha and eastern part of Chhattisgarh. The river flows due north, covers total area of 215 km and forms the inter-state boundary between Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The river passes through several small and big mountain ranges and after flowing through a narrow rocky channel, of Nawapara Hill range turns into the Mahanadi near Seorinarayan (21 °42'43.42"N; 82°34'34.03"E) at an elevation of about 234AMSL.

The Tributaries & The Environs:
The river is joined by a number of small and big tributaries such as Kondajori, Machka, Chirar, Bagh, Bhuisa, Karmel, Lamhar. Vegetation cover in this region is of tropical deciduous type and consist of Mahua flat land near the river bank and savanna woodland in the high land and valleys. The geological formation includes the Achaean and Chudappah formation; the main rock formations are granite, quartzite, quartz and sand stone.

This is the first phase of exploration which confined only the Mahasamund district covered almost 70km river bank of the Mahasamund,Bagbahara and Pithora tehseel of said district.

There is various folklore traditions are now prevailing in this area about the Jonk River. During the course of exploration number of sculptures and scattered images are documented. Numbers of sculptures (intact and fragmented) are found during the exploration work. Besides these numbers of structural sites are also coming to limelight during the survey. Brick mounds are documented in the villages of Deori and Bade Khemda area.

Sites:

Narra
The site is located on the left bank of river Jonk. It was a ancient estate. It attested its prove with depiction of"NARRA ESTATE", on the lentil portion of the ruined building. The old building is in the process of decline.

Suwarmar
At Suwarmar, there is small settlement. This site is located on the right side of NH. 270. Towards Khariar road. The exploration is carried out in and around the hill. The exploration revealed large number of antiquities in the form of terracotta figurines, potsherds of black ware, buff red ware. The exploration also revealed some pre-modern brick structure and stone structures. Later the headquarter shifted to Komakhan.

Komakhan:
Komakhan is a big village and it is popularly known for the Komakhan zamindari. It is a small palace which inhabitated by the present successors of the Suamargarh. All most buildings are in ruined condition. Only one part of the palace is in good condition. Other parts of the palace like elephant stable, general assembly hall and gates are in the condition of decay. The present condition of this residential building needs conservation otherwise it will convert into ruin like other buildings located in periphery.

Vindravan
Some fragmented sculptures are traced out from this village. Now two fragmented horse rider sculptures are recovered by a local School teacher ofKomakhan. Now these two fragmented horse riders stored by him in his personal collection.

Kasai Bahara
This village is located near the village Komakhan. It is said that about 25 k.g(?) of coin recovered from this village, when a construction work was going on. Fortunately local teacher collected two coins. These coins are of Hyderabad Nizam. The finding of these coins clearly shows that this village was an ancient settlement.

Senbhata
The exploration work yielded some prehistoric antiquities. Here one Prehistoric site is earlier discovered.

Deori
The survey of the Jonk River revealed an ancient brick structure at the village Deori. This exact village is located on the left bank of river Jonk. The site is accidentally discovered when a new temple foundation structure is laid out. The digging revealed an ancient foundation brick walls. Besides these, large numbers of potsherds of red and buff red ware are traced out. The fragmentedbowls are also traced out from the digging. Iocally this site is known as Mahalpara.

Badekhemda
This particular site is located on the left bank of river Jonk. There are two villages like Badekhemda and Chhotckhcmda are located. At the end of Badekhemda village, a headless Ganesh is found. This headless Ganesh is about 2ft in height. This particular image is made up of grained sand stone and installed on a modem platform. On the northern bank of the pond, a modem platform is noticed which is standing on the ancient brick structure. The ancient brick walls are clearly visible from the surface and buried under the trees.
On the extremely eastern side of the village and on the closely left bank of river Jonk, the survey revealed a big brick mound with shivling. One big brick mound contains a huge sivaling. The top portion of this Sivling is slightly damaged. Locally this mound is know as Matogodi. The exploration at this field revealed some ceramic traditions. The potsherds of black ware; red ware and buffred ware are traced out.

Bodidadar/Chandi
From this site, one stone lion sculpture is found, when a road construction was going on. Now this is kept under a shed. Some potsherds of red ware and brick bats are also traced out.

Khurmudi
The exploration at this village yielded one Mesolithic site. This sitc is discovered at the end of the village Khurmudi in the Bagbahara Tehsil of Mahasamudn district. The tools and debit age are found in the slope of the river bank. Large numbers of debitage are scattered in the whole area. The tools are generally observed in the raingallis of the river section. The tools are of blade, points and cores. Interestingly some historical potteries also recovered from this site. The red ware potsherds with rim are dominated in this site.

Dongripalli
Here some microlithc tools are encountered during the survey. These Microlithic tools are very few in number in comparison with other sites. The artifacts are found in the river section. On the exact opposite of the river, a Mesolithic site Belturkri is located.

Rewa
This is the last village of Bagbahara tehsil. The exploration at this village revealed a mesolithic site. The site is slightly damaged due to the cutting of the road. The survey carried out from Rewa village to onwards Dongripali. The mesolithic tools are retrieved from the river section. Some potteries of red ware and black ware are found from this site. The important discovery is the finding of iron slags from this site. Large number of iron slags and potsherds are found from this site.

Lilesar
One mesolithic site is discovered from this village. This site Lilesar is located in the left bank of the river Jonk. The exact site is situated at the end of the village where the Jonk is flowing . Here all the tools are retrieved from the river section and from the raingallis. Here large numbers of microlithic tools with cores are found. The slope of the river section contains stone fragments.

Udarlami
One prehistoric site is found during the exploration work at the Jonk River at Udarlami. The very site is located on the left bank ofthe river Jonk. Here large numbers of Mesolithic tools are retrieved. Large numbers of debitagae with tools are also found from this site. All the tools are found from slope of the Granite out crop.

Girna
This site is located on the left bank of river Jonk. The prehistoric tools are earlier reported by the Deccan College, Pune. The survey revealed prehistoric tools from this site.