The Blackbucks of Bidar

The Honnikeri Reserve Forest and the Vilsapur Lake near the former Bahamani capital is a paradise for the fastest running animal in India: The Blackbuck.

Blackbucks are found in abundance in the Deccan Plateau and especially in Bidar district. They are graceful and slender species fond of water resources. One can spot them in the morning and evening around the lake in a herd. A clear distinction can be made between male and female by a very unique feature: The spiral horns.

A pair of Blackbucks drinking water Photo Courtesy; Archit Raman from Flickr http://bit.ly/2jbkh5s

The blackbuck is commonly known as Krishna Mrugam – in Kannada and Krishna Jinka in Telugu, and it is the state animal of Andhra Pradesh. The skin of Krishna Mrugam is of prime importance in Hinduism.The young Brahmin boys are traditionally required to wear a strip of unleathered hide after performing Upanayanam, a traditional saṃskāra (rites of passage) that marks the acceptance of a student by a guru (teacher) and an individual’s entrance to a school in Hinduism. The tradition dates back to Ramayana where Lord Sri Rama is known to have worn the skin of Blackbuck during exile. The black buck is a vehicle of Moon–god, Chandrama.

A cultural transformation from traditional hunting to conservation of Krishna Mrugam

Akbar Hunting Black Buckfrom the Akbarnama Dated circa 1590-95, via Wikimedia Commons

The Royal Hunting was a traditional game played by King Akbar and many members of the royal families in India. According to the Garuda Purana of the Hindu mythology, blackbucks bestow prosperity in the areas they live. In ancient times, they were used as symbols of royalty and pride.

By Xufanc (Own work based on: Indian Numismatics) [Public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
In recent times, people are aware of the decreasing number of black bucks due to excessive hunting and the forest department has taken measures to develop eco-tourism and conserve the antelopes. The Jungle Lodges offer nature walks in the protected area. The blackbuck is listed as an endangered species of India and it is time to conserve the natural heritage- a heritage on which we depend for our  sustenance and survival.

Vilaspur Lake is surrounded by an open grasslands and a pleasant place to spend the evenings. Blackbucks mainly graze on grass, and can run 70kmph, which is quite an inspiration for the heritage runners.

Written by Rachana Patil

GoUNESCO is funded by Go Heritage Runs  an award-winning fun run series at heritage sites across the country. Our next run in Bidar is on Sunday, December 10, 2017 and all participants will received handcrafted Bidri souvenir medals. Sign up today!

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