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Friday, September 2, 2011

Conch Shells : Fossils

Several years ago, I was told by one of my friends that he has inherited a solid (stone like) Conch Shell and that he is keen to let me have a look. Later on When I visited his place, he showed me his antique possessions over a cup of tea. Among other things, the solid Conch Shell was also present. I examined it and realized  that it was a million year old real fossilized Conch Shell. My friend was too happy to learn about it.  He had, however, no clue as to how it was sourced.

Once, when I was travelling in Shahpura area of Mandla District in Madhya Pradesh (India), I was informed that plant and tree fossils are scattered over a very wide area. Now it falls in Dindori District and has been protected as part of the National Fossil Park. The area forms a part of the great Vindhya/Satpura Mountain Ranges which divide India into North and South.



In an another occasion I was  traversing  the same terrain accompanied by a youth from that area. I questioned him if fossils of other living beings are also obtainable thereabout. He got enthused and offered  to take me on a hillock which according to him, had lot of things in store. We parked the vehicle at a convenient place and proceeded to scale the hillock known as “Karpa”. Karpa is also the name of the small town nearby. On the way and particularly on the summit, I was wonderstruck to find many boulders wherein fossilized Conch Shells were embedded. The rocks were fragile enough to be broken to take out the shells they encompassed. It was my GK (though poor) which suggested that the boulder rocks could have been formed  by the lava emitted during some volcanic eruption, millions of years ago. There could have been the Sea or a lake over there and the volcanic eruption created the hillock and brought up the Sea Shells which got deposited on the top of the hill. I collected few of them for my self and some more to serve as give a ways. I also brought along with me a piece of rock wherein the shell was in an embedded form.






According to the Hindu Mythology, when the Vindhya ranges started moving up (gaining height) it was feared that this could cause hindrance for the Sun (God) to move to the South. The assembly of Gods decided to entrust the problem to a Seer (Rishi) named Agastya. Agastya in turn accompanied by his family and disciples went up to the Vindhya Mountain and requested it to scale down its height to provide a passage to the South for his entourage. The mountain, in veneration, bowed down and assured to remain subdued till the return of the Seer from his journey to the South. However, the Seer was not to return and the mountain is keeping its promise.


While I was in service, these fossils served a wonderful purpose. I used to wrap them in a silver foil and present them to high dignitaries duly gift packed with a request to keep it in their prayer rooms. It was being emphasised to them that these fossilized shells will give them peace whenever they are troubled. They used to accept the gift  with great reverence, as Conch Shells, in Hindu faith are objects of that kind.
The story will begin again when somebody inherits them.

22 comments:

  1. very interesting! I knew about fossils of course, but have rarely seen them! would love to go and collect some for myself!

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  2. I am seeing these fossil conch shells for the first time - they look beautiful.Thanks a lot for this informative post .I loved reading it .

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  3. Wow! Never seen fossil conch shells. Very look so very old and antique!! Would love to own some of them myself... Great story about the mountain range too!
    Have a nice day:-)

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  4. Interesting indeed. These conch shells remind me of the ones in Thirukkazhukundram temple.

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  5. very interesting...conch shell fossils!!!... and that too in India..wow!!

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  6. Molluscs are my favourite creature. Loving the post.

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  7. This is interesting.
    Never knew about this.

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  8. Very interesting post with lots of information.

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  9. That is very interesting .. Thank you for sharing ..

    Bikram's

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  10. Interesting post..!!!
    Initially when i saw the the pic i thought its some ordinary tree stem or something but after read the post I really got to know a lot of interesting things :) :)
    Thanks for sharing...

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  11. Wow, now these are items one would love to receive as a gift! Lucky dignitaries!
    gb

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  12. I love the fossil conch shells. Recently, when I went to Alibaug,I picked some amazing ones. Worth the search. Your post made me knowledgeable. Thanks PNS.

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  13. interesting info...

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  14. Hello PNS,

    Very fascination information about conch shells and I am amazed at their age and the mythology behind them. I was enthralled to read the wonderful research you have carried out.

    Best wishes,
    Joseph

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  15. I am seeing these fossil conch shells for the first time. Would like to collect them myself. Thanks for this informative & interesting post.

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  16. I sent you 2 mails. Kindly check.

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  17. Nice post with good pictures.

    Please,visit my blog,whenever find time.

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  18. shankh ke jivashm dekh kar dekh kar badi khushi hui.apani hi kavitha ki do panktiyan yad aa gayin-shankh dakshin ka kashmir mein bhi baje,kesar kashmir ka idliyon per saje,...ho namaste mera aur mera vanakkam,swagatam desh mere tera swagatam.Rshtriya ekata ke sandarbh mein lokapriya huin meri panktiyon ki sarthak abhivyakti aapke chitra mein hai.

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  19. Wow sir, super story and pics. This indeed is a different kind of fossil, would love to have one specimen hope you may help me in this.

    Regards,

    Amit

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  20. Dear Mr. P.N. Subramanian

    or Any body else in this forum, Kindly let me know about the Fossilised Conch botanical name( formal scientific name conforming to the International Code of Nomenclature)or Species.

    Regards,

    Amit
    (M)9956659999

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