Dr. V. S. Wakankar

thakur_jaidev_singhV. S. Wakankar (4th May, 1919 – 3rd April, 1988) Dr. Vishnu Shridhar Wakankar was born on 4th May 1919 at Neemuch, a town in the Malwa region of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. His distinguished academic career earned him the title of ‘Pitamaha’ of Rock Art studies in India. From 1954 onwards, he carried out extensive field work on rock art in India and abroad – Europe, North America and the Middle East. In India, it is estimated that he discovered and documented some 4,000 decorated shelters. In 1957, he discovered the Bhimbetka rock art site which was inscribed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1970. He was awarded with numerous prestigious awards including Padamshri, in the year 1975, which in one of India’s highest cilvilian honours by Government of India. He held important positions in various academic institutes and was involved in numerous archaeological surveys; he explored the ravines of the Chambal and Narmada rivers, as well as tracing the basin of the now-dried-up Saraswati river, said to hold secrets of the Indian civilization. He carried out archaeological excavations at various sites in India and abroad.

Dr. Wakankar was also an expert in the field of numismatics and epigraphy. He collected and studied over 5,500 coins ranging from 5th Century B. C. onwards. The collection is now part of the Wakankar Shodh Sansthan. Moreover, he studied numerous inscriptions dated from the 2nd Century BC in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Brahmi. He had published 6 books and over 400 research papers. He established the Wakankar Indological Cultural Research Trust in Ujjain, India. Today Wakankar Shodh Sansthan hosts a collection of over 7500 sketches of rock art paintings sketched by Dr. Wakankar himself. *This Memorial Lecture Series is initiated in honour of an eminent Archaeologist, great Humanist and Gandhian, Dr. V. S. Wakankar, who was the pioneer of rock art studies in India.