ROCK FORMATIONS OF HYDERABAD


Hyderabad is blessed with a unique landscape: spectacular ancient rock formations - though almost extinct in the centre of the expanding metropolis - still dot its suburban expanses: Granite ridges and hillocks weathered into picturesque balancing forms, part of the Deccan Shield area. Geologists date these rocks to 2,500 million years back, amongst the oldest and hardest rocks in the world.

Uncontrolled quarrying and destruction for the sake of building material and more building space threatens to make these rocks a thing of the past. But do we have to destroy a unique asset that other cities would be proud to possess? We should realise that our rocky hillocks lend themselves to great nature and adventure parks. Nature is recreation for the body and the soul - and we are sorely in need of more recreation areas for the increasing millions of our city.



Hyderabad is placing itself firmly on the tourist map. But not only manmade heritage attracts - every visitor admires the balancing boulders of our landscapes with awe. The indiscriminate cutting down of the rocks is seen with dismay. We need to protect rock formations as natural monuments and tourist attractions; with a minimum of infrastructure established, we can have the eco and adventure travellers come flocking in to enjoy our natural wonders.


Preserving ancient rocks will enrich our culture and heritage

Rocky areas are a treasure trove of unique flora and fauna, including ancient micro-organisms. They are important for water management: percolation and recharge of groundwater.

 

Where other nations protect their unique geological formations carefully, do we have the right to destroy an asset created by nature over thousands of millions of years?

 

The Society to Save Rocks wants to show citizens and the government alike the value of our landscape. Starting with a massive awareness programme, it has been working for the preservation of the rocky landscape since 1992. Meanwhile, the Hyderbad Urban Development Authority has put 9 rock sites under the protection of its Heritage Regulations. And hopefully, more are to come, with the help of the Society. The Society has conducted cultural programmes (concerts, a play), competitions for children, exhibitions of photos and paintings on rocks, rock walks every month, and has printed T-shirts, greeting cards and caps. Two-rock documentaries have been produced and features have appeared on electronic media like Doordarshan, ETV, All India Radio and in other media.

Please communicate your views to Ms. Frauke Quader, Secretary, Society to Save Rocks.

E-mail

frauke@saverocks.org

Tel Nos.

 
91-40-23552923
91-9849936248

The Society has published a Scientific Survey of Rock Areas in Medak and Rangareddy Districts of Andhra Pradesh. More districts will follow. A Note on Hyderabad District, written more from the touristic point of view, has been added. The book will be available at the Society's office for Rs. 250 (discount for members), and in bookshops in Hyderabad, from February, 2004.

The Society has received the INTACH Heritage Award 2003 for its untiring work for the preservation of the ancient rocks of the Deccan. It has also received a Certificate of the Andhra Pradesh Department of Culture and Tourism as best NGO promoting tourism and the National Tourism Award 2002 – 2003 by the Govt. of India.

Society’s Programmes:

1.    Rock walks in and around Hyderabad The Third Sunday of Every Month.

2.    Longer Excursions are organised once or twice a year.

3.    Cultural Programmes take place in Jan. / Feb. of every year.

4.    Talks with the Government of A.P. on all levels are a regular feature.

5.    A Newsletter is published every quarter

 

THE ROCKY HERITAGE OF THE DECCAN PLATEAU

It is by now quite well established that the picturesque rockscapes of Hyderabad and the Deccan Plateau must be protected and preserved. To assist the Government of Andhra Pradesh in listing important areas, the Society to Save Rocks is conducting a survey of rock sites in all districts of Andhra Pradesh. The first volume of the survey has just been published:

"Rock Sites of Andhra Pradesh, Volume I

A Survey of Medak and Rangareddy District,

With a Note on Hyderabad District"

This is what Pinaki Das writes in a review of the publication:

 

"The book is essentially a status report, a primary scientific account of some important rock sites in terms of their geological features and the flora and fauna in the vicinity. The environmental linkage has called for a multi-disciplinary survey team of scientists to document the features mentioned above. These scientists have traveled extensively in the districts. Apart from their scientific work they have also talked to local people and tried to document their interaction with the rocks in their daily lives; for rocks continue to playa role in the economic and social lives of people who live near them. Thus, the rock sites have been treated as "living systems" not merely in the biological/environmental sense of the term but with regard to the human interaction as well.

A rock site is a micro-region, and for the purpose of the survey, a cluster of rocks spread over a few square kilometers would typically be stylized as a unit of observation - the rock site - to which the nearest village would lend its name. These sites, twelve in Medak and seven in Rangareddy District, by no means exhaust the total number of interesting rock formations and are merely representative of the possibilities in the region. In the urban fringe and in the city of Hyderabad itself (together 48 areas and formations), the rock sites are more specific clusters, often a pile of rocks sticking out in a sea of humanity. These clusters, being constantly threatenend by human settlements have been dealt with from a purely aesthetic and touristic point of view.

It can be hoped that the present survey will provide a framework for further surveys fanning out to the outlying districts and eventually covering all interesting rock sites of the Deccan.

A conscious effort has been made to strike a balance and present an account that would hold the interest of the layman and the initiated alike. Well over a hundred photographs have been used to supplement and balance the scientific enumeration. Latin names of plants and animals have been banished to appendices and replaced with common vernacular names. Similarly, a greater portion of the scientists' field notes in terms of local myths and oral histories have found their way into the main text. Several maps, some of them very detailed, have been provided to urge and guide enthusiasts to actually undertake visits.

In order to underline the essential asymmetry in the logic of the situation, the book does not merely paint beautiful rock scenery but also presents pictures pointing to their potential ugly future: when it comes to rocks, beauty may well be subjective but there can hardly be two opinions about the ugliness of a quarry... "

Dr. P. Pavanaguru is Professor of Geology at Osmania University and heads the team of scientists who are carrying out the survey. He writes in his introduction to the First Volume:

"About 4.6 billion years ago, from a vast contracting clustered cloud of gas and dust, the earth was formed along with other planets. The upper part of the earth, the crust, was very thin then, and it built over a period of its existence to a thick crust comprising varieties of rocks formed by the action of magmatism (volcanism), metamorphism, weathering and sedimentation. The present-day arrangement and appearance of rocks is based on dynamic physico­chemical activity operating both on the surface and within the earth.

Peninsular India- whi.ch contains the Deccan Plateau, mostly comprises hard crystalline rocks (formed by consolidation and crysta 1,1 isation of magma) like granites and gneisses. These rocks are also called 'unclassified' cri5tallines due to the non-availability of adequate isotope age data. However, the relative position of the granites and associated rocks and their chronological studies in Indian stratigraphy suggests an age of 2500 million years. These rocks form the basement for all the younger rock which formed after them.

The gneissies rocks of Peninsular India, which lie exposed in parts of Andhra Pradesh, have weathered over millions of years to produce the rock formations that we observe today. The weathering and sedimentation have also prepared the ground for organisms to live among these rooks. The dwellers among these biotic systems utilize the abnormal carvings and help sustain the equilibrium of the ecosystem. "

The zoologist in the team of survey scientists is Dr. V. Vasudeva Rao. He has painstakingly listed the animals and birds encountered in the 2 districts of the First Volume: 71 species of herpetiles and mammals, and 207 species of birds.

And the two botanists, Dr. P. Ramachandra Reddy and Dr. P. Padma Rao, find "major important economic species of plants and rare aromatic and herbal medicinal plants" among the rock clusters and areas.

Checklists of animalst birds and pJants as weJJ as of all rock sites surveyed are appended to the booK.

With this publication (and the volumes to follow) the Society to Save Rocks contributes substantially to the knowledge about rocky landscapes in Andhra Pradesh, thus facilitating government and private initiatives to earmark areas for preservation and protection from destruction.

Government agencies are provided with an overview of important rocky locations from the geological, zoological, botanical, environmental and archaeological angles. This, naturally, points to the touristic potential of the areas. They could be developed into nature reserves, adventure parks or environment education centres, all destined to attract the tourist interested in nature and environment Areas around temples and dargahs could become recreation parks. All these could stress the ancient geological and historical heritage that the unique rock formations represent and teach.

 

Frauke Quader

Secretary, Society to Save Rocks 1236, Road No. 60

Hyderabad - 500 033

Tel. 23552923
Cell:9849936248
www.saverocks.org
E-mail: frauke@saverocks.org
www.hyderabadgreens.org

 

"Rock Sites of Andhra Pradesh - Volume r" is available at Walden, Akshara and Book Selection Centre, as well as at the office of the Society to Save Rocks. Price: Rs. 250.