Alambadi Stoneage Rock Art Site (Villupuram - Tamil Nadu)

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Recently while teaching art history at a college, I was telling about Lascaux and Altamira Stone Age Rock Art, I thought why the hell are we sitting a classroom while I can very much take them to similar sites when they are so near by and that's exactly what happened. We started off a wee bit late, and reached Villupuram at about 12 noon. Well, 25 people trying to co-ordinate with each other, has its own disadvantages!!!
The first site was supposed to be Settavarai, which needs a bit of trek, but at 12 noon that would be just plain stupid. So our first stop was Alambadi, a site of New Stone Age drawings. 
The location immediately reminded me of Dhalavanur, in the middle of paddy fields. For a change, this was in the middle of millet fields! Right there, surrounded by cultivation, were a few boulders of rocks and a little temple atop. The locals said that the temple was of Lord Muruga and people planted spears (that's what Lord Muruga holds) as an offering. There was little ladder to reach the top, but half way through is what we were interested in. 
On a boulder that has a natural cleft that inclines inwards & downwards, that's a huge wall that served as a graffiti base for our own forefathers. The entire wall was filled with layers and layers of drawings drawn over several years, overlapping each other. Mostly done in red color with Red Ochre.
Right at the centre was a huge 'something' which was elongated and had 4 legs. Any guesses??? That's a monitor lizard. In a later period, the same monitor lizards were shown with more detailing. The little lines around them are the hairs!
They were 'hunters & gatherers' remember? So they obviously killed monitor lizards also for meat. But they also made a point to draw what they saw inside the lizards. These are called 'x-ray drawings' by archeologists in which, within the outline of animals, their inner organs esp.,  the intestine is shown. 
There was also this human face, probably that depicted a mask, probably a ritual mask!!!
Something that intrigued me was this 2 feet. That made me think, if Pasupathi seal of Indus valley is from which Lord Shiva was derived, probably this painting of 2 feet should be from which Vishnu Padham was derived!!!  
There was also a pond depicted with an animal (most probably a deer) on its bank. 
There's a tree with 2 fishes beneath them.
There's an older painting of a bull and 2 calves.
Also there's some animal, may a deer, caught up in a trap.
What caught my attention was this. A tree with 2 honeycombs on it and a fellow climbing it, depicted half way through!!! Think of it, our stone age ancestors knew how to take honey out of honeycomb more than 3000 yrs ago!!!!!!

After a bit of rest, our next stop was Settavarai, but that post has got to wait. Next post would be on Kilvalai where we went after Settavarai. 

From Tambaram, Chennai to Villupuram: 140km via Chengalpet, Tindivanam
From Villupuram Bus Stand to Alambadi: 30km (26km on Thirukkovilur road via Perumbakkam & Mambalapattu) and right turn. 4km via Karanai, Sengamedu).
Around that area look out for a rock boulders formation to the right. When you spot one walk across the cultivation to reach it.

On Google Maps: 12.017320, 79.295343

Dedicated to the experts who accompanied us, K.T.Gandhirajan and Veera Raghavan.


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. I am really glad that I made you teach HPD and not doing it myself :)

  2. amazing ! could you recommend any books that is a definitive authority on such stoneage rock art in Tamil Nadu?

  3. Divya, Thank you! :)
    Niranjan, Glad! :)
    Jayanth, Archeological dept & Madras Museum have published few books. They're avbl at Madras Museum to buy.


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