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Cash pledge makes up for missing sun
- Cloud spoiler at Hazaribagh megalith site on equinox

Hazaribagh, Sept. 22: By the time the sun peeped out of the clouds, it was too late to catch a spectacular view of sunrise between the two ancient megaliths at Pankri Barwadih that attracted hundreds on the occasion of autumnal equinox today.

Megalithic explorer Subhashis Das and 500-odd villagers reached the site, 17km from Hazaribagh, around 5.30 this morning, only to be let down by a concealed sun. But to their pleasant surprise, deputy commissioner (DC) Manish Ranjan and his wife Anita were as enthusiastic and present at the megalithic site from earlier.

The DC later promised to arrange funds to develop the site, a day after a huge signboard was raised there with facts and figures about Pankri Barwadih.

Ranjan’s earnest efforts won applause from Das, who first saw the megaliths 12 years ago.

“I have met some of the predecessors of the DC but no one showed as much interest in the megaliths. Installing a signboard here and another on Hazaribagh-Barkagaon Road to point at the presence of this important site is a welcome step,” said the explorer, a tad emotional.

He admitted that bad weather prevented the watchers from catching a glimpse of the sun rising from between the two V-shaped structures.

“It was a cloudy morning and when the sun came out it was too late,” he added.

On August 8, Das had mobilised villagers to put one of the megaliths, which fell flat two days earlier, back in its vertical position using cement, sand, spades, ropes and stone chips.

Today, Ranjan told villagers that the place would get a facelift, a move planned seeing the flow of tourists from within the country and abroad.

He said the megaliths had been standing since 1,500 BC, adding the funds would be poured in to develop the site. He promised to sanction Rs 1.5 lakh for a deep bore well.

Ranjan, who also visited a Buddha Stupa near the megaliths, promised another Rs 40,000 for a hand pump. He said funds between Rs 3 and Rs 5 lakh would be arranged for setting up a shed for tourists.

Das said that he had been demanding a signboard for long.

“With help from villagers, I had placed a small board here some two years ago. Once the administration takes up a beautification drive here, it will be a place similar to Stonehenge in the United Kingdom,” he added.