The city of Bhimbetka located about 46 kms from the capital city Bhopal is an archaeological treasure of Madhya Pradesh, which is greatly honoured for housing one of the biggest chain of pre-historic caves of great historical interest. These caves of rich cultural significance were spotted by Dr V. S. Wakankar, one of the popular archaeologists of our country. This place has its name associated with the Madhyama Pandav, Bheema.
The caves have turned out to be the prized source of attraction of Bhimbetka and is grabbing the attention of the history buffs from far and wide. The spectacular group of about 600 caves are positioned in a dangerous rocky terrain under the dense cover of Sal and teak trees. Accredited by the UNESCO as a ‘Site of Heritage’, the caves showcases the paintings of Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic ages.
Painting in Bhimbetka caves resembles to the rock paintings of the Savanna regions of Australia and the paintings in the Kalahari Desert drawn by the Pygmies. The caves arouse great interest in the minds of people with its beautiful paintings depicting hunting, dancing, music, horse and elephant riders, animal fighting, honey collection, decoration of bodies etc. Also paintings of animals such as bisons, tigers, lions, wild boar, elephants, antelopes, dogs, lizards can be witnessed. The colours of white, red, yellow and green were used in the painting. The oldest painting here is estimated to be about 12000 years old and the recent one to be about 1000 years old. Unfortunately people can fill their eyes with great ancient paintings only in the 12 caves as the remaining caves are closed for the public view.
The expressive and picturesque cave paintings portray the life of the prehistoric cave-residents making Bhimbetka an archaeological jewel and a priceless record in the history of mankind.
PLACES TO SEE
The paintings in the cave can be put up in 7 different categories.
Period I - Upper Paleolithic : Paintings of animals such as bisons, tigers and rhinoceroses painted dark red and green colours can be seen.
Period II – Mesolithic : Paintings such as communal dances, birds, musical instruments, mother and child, pregnant women, men carrying dead animals, drinking and burials are witnessed. These paintings are tiny than compared to the previous paintings.
Period III – Chaleolithic : These caves depict paintings pertaining to trade.
Period IV & V - Early Historic : Painted in the colours of yellow, red and white are the paintings of religious symbols, dresses worn by the people, horse riders etc.
Period VI & VII – Medieval : These paintings appear more advanced and sophisticated than the previous ones. The colours used in these paintings were mainly prepared from leaf extract, animal fat, manganese, red stone etc.
HOW TO REACH
By Air : For travellers who are willing to travel by flight, Bhopal about 46 kms away is the nearest airport. It has many flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Indore etc.
By Bus : Many State and Private buses connect Bhimbetka to Bhopal.
By Rail : Bhopal is the nearest and major railhead.