Just 47 kms from the capital city of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh in the Vindyachal hills lie the caves of Bhimbetka meaning the caves where the Mahabharta fame Bhim – the third brother of Pandavas used to sit. These caves form a part of the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE as they have paintings of all over them representing three major periods of history – Upper, Paleolithic and the Medieval Period.
Another major attraction of the caves is the temperature inside the caves which is very low inside as compared to the temperature outside the caves and vice versa These can be easily reached by road from Bhopal City.
History Bhimbetka Caves
The caves of Bhimbetka were discovered by Indian Dr Wakankar in the year 1958. There are about 600 caves in all filled with paintings of various activities of the cave dwellers. Bhimbetka caves are the largest collection of prehistoric caves in India.
The paintings here are about 9000 years old making them the oldest paintings in the world signifying the earliest traces of human being on earth
Zoo Rock Its the most famous cave as it looks more like a rock than a cave. On this cave are the paintings made up of limestone and vegetable colors.
The Caves are in itself a natural marvel. Have a close look to the caves from a distance and you will find a tortoise, open mouth of a snake and so on. Some of them have huge capacity of 100 people.
The Caves have archeological significance as they depict 7 different periods of history. These paintings can be divided into five major historical periods:
» Upper Paleolithic – Old Stone Age
In these one can see the wild animals painted on the walls of the caves. Huge figures of bisons, deer tigers and rhinoceroses make the major part of these paleolithic paintings.
» Mesolithic Paintings
Here some improvements can be seen in the paintings. The paintings now are more refined with linear decorations on the body of human beings, hunting scenes, music and dance festivals.
» Chaleolithic Period
These paintings depict the mixing up of the cave man with the agricultural communities of the Malwa Plains.
» Early historic
Here one can see the drawings of yaksh, tree gods and sky chariots.Painted mainly in red and yellow these depict the riders, tunic like dresses, scripts and religious symbols.
» Medieval Period
Geometric and schematic pictures paintings. But these paintings show crudeness in their artistic style.
In these cave paintings the use of crude chipped stone tools has been done in abundance along with the use of twig brushes dipped into charcoal and plant extracts has been done here. What is most interesting is the existence of these paintings even after such long period! Also these paintings on the bear resemblance to the Upper Paleolithic Lascaux cave Paintings in France and Kakadu National Park in Australia.
Other Places Around
» Khajuraho Temples : A visit to Madhya Pradesh is incomplete without seeing the Khajuraho Temples. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these are a must see as these depict the Medieval India in its rock cut art form.
» Kanha National Park: In the Mandala district of Madhya Pradesh is the Kanha Wildlife Sanctuary filled with birds, tigers and leopards. If you want to a eye to eye with the tigers, this is the best place to be in Madhya Pradesh. There are wildlife resorts to have a comfortable stay.
» Noor Us Sabha Palace Heritage Hotel : If you want to enjoy the real Indian Culture then you stay here. Noor Us Sabha Palace Hotel has all that will give you a feeling of Madhya Pradesh Indian Culture. From food to Culture its all here.
»Language – Hindi , English
»Clothings – Preferably Cottons both in Summer and Winters.
»Best Time to Visit- October to May end. .
* There are no dwelling places near the caves. But one can have a comfortable stay in Bhopal, th nearest place from Bhimbetka Caves.
* Pre booking of the hotel room is suggested for a comfortable stay
* There are numerous famous tourist places to see Madhya Pradesh like Orchha Temples, Sanchi Stupas (World Heritage Site), Kanha National Sanctuary. Don’t miss them out when you are in Madaya Pradesh!
* Food of all sorts is easily available in the Bhopal City. For the Bhimbetka Caves visit, keep some snacks packed with you.
* Bhopal is a beautiful city. The Bhopal City is more attractive than the Old Bhopal City. Take a trip around the city.