Ursa Major (Great Bear) constellation consists among other stars, the formation called the Big Dipper, a group of seven bright stars. In Hindu mythology, these are known as Saptarishis. Now a representation of Ursa Major has been discovered on a piece of rock at Mudumula village of Mahabubnagar district in Andhra Pradesh. This representation has been dated to 500 B.C, the time of Buddha.
The representation of the group of stars was found on a square table-like rock with a flat slanting top. “This appears to have been deliberately planted by the megalithic people to plot the Great Bear constellation, also known as `Ursa Major’ and referred to as `Saptarshi Mandala’ in Indian astronomy,” Dr.Rao said.
The group of seven stars, four of which appear like a rectangle and a tail-like formation with three stars, has been mapped on the rock in the form of cup-marks. The Great Bear constellation was used by several communities especially the caravans and sea voyagers to identify the `Pole Star’, located above the north pole and thus locate the exact north. [Signature of the sky in rock]