Trip to Bhimbetka caves
It was Sunday morning, and my wife told me that her cousins are coming to see us. We will have to take them for a picnic. Being a native of Bhopal, I knew the famous place nearby was either Bhimbetka caves or Sanchi. So I told my wife about the two options we had. “Anything will do, as long as we enjoy, “she replied. I enquired from one of my school friends, he suggested Bhimbetka, because it was only a 45kms ride from Bhopal and the road was superb. He gave a hint that if we visit Bhimbetka or Bhimbetka caves, we might be in for a treat. It was the month of July, and therefore, the weather was pleasant with a small drizzle in the morning. Although the perfect time to visit is during winter, it was an unplanned trip, so we decided to go instead of a slight drizzle.
Where is Bhimbetka caves is located in the present day?
We left Bhopal for Bhimbetka caves at around 1 pm in my Honda BRV (7 seaters). It had been quite a comfortable ride. Bhimbetka falls under the district of Raisen, Madhya Pradesh (MP). Bhimbetka is one of India’s most important historical sites and one of the country’s few archaeological monuments. All in all, Bhimbetka, Bhopal may be a heaven for rock shelters and cave paintings. Soon we reached Mandideep, and it’s a town with a municipality in the Goharganj sub-district of Bhopal district in Madhya Pradesh. Mandideep is 23 km from Bhopal and is an Industrial township that came into existence in the late 1970s.
Mandideep is closely connected to Bhimbetka and also nearby Shiva Temple at Bhojpur (15 km). Soon we reached Obaidullaganj, and that we halted there as I wanted my wife and her cousins to taste the world-famous Meva Bati (Kind of a Gulab Jamun), a rich North Indian mithai made by stuffing a meva based dough with a mixture of nuts and mava and deep-frying the fragile, stuffed balls till golden brown. These Meva Batis are then soaked in syrup for a long time and served warm. After enjoying the sweet, we quickly headed for our destination. It’s only a 9 km distance from here. But I was anticipating the surprise which my friend was talking about. As we crossed a bridge, the colorful forests all around were rejuvenating, and it felt like we are entering a forested wonderland where time stopped turning eons ago.
As I drove faster, we reached one of the oldest caves recognized by UNESCO in India.
Recall those old cave paintings from your history books of school or college? They displayed cave art, massive rock caves, and signs of prehistoric people. Who wouldn’t want to see something like that in person? The Bhimbetka Caves and rock shelters near Bhopal provided us with the perfect opportunity to see what history books are made of.
Adorned with paintings and geometric designs, over five hundred of the rock shelters out of the overall 750 are precious connections to our past. Because of their historical importance, the Bhimbetka rock shelters and caves were declared a World Heritage Site within the year 2003.
Mythological Importance of Bhimbetka caves
As the legend goes, these hills got their name after Lord Bhima, one amongst the five Pandava Brothers. It’s said that Lord Bhima came and sat on these caves during their days of exile. The name ‘Bhim-betka’ literally means where Bhim sat down. Over time, the name began to get mispronounced, and it gradually got the shape of Bhimbetka caves.
Legend has it that the LakhJuhu forests or Jungle surrounding the caves were the first places where the palace of lac stood, where the Kauravas conspired to kill the Pandavas. The residents say that the name of the forest came from the palace of lac which stood here during the Mahabharata.
The Kakadu park situated in Australia, and cave paintings of Bushmen of the desert and, therefore, the period Lascaux Cave paintings of France all bear a striking resemblance to the Bhimbetka cave paintings. The painting’s intensity grew over time, much as the cavemen who drew on these identical walls thirty thousand years ago gradually acquired more from the gaze of onlookers. They concocted the image of an early supporter of the artworks. The artwork progressed alongside man’s evolution.
Bhimbetka caves paintings
As you slowly bear the paintings, you’d understand the importance of those paintings to the lives of the traditional people as you’ll see in retrospection an ancient caveman creating these drawings or painting (Bhimbetka caves paintings) with a torch in one hand and charcoal and dye in another. The importance of this place to the history and emergence of India is immense. Some important sites here are the archeological rock and, therefore, the zoo rock. The archeological rock shelter could be a huge cathedral-like structure with arches paying homage to the Gothic architectures, which came much later. The zoo rock depicts several animals like elephants, bison, deer, etc. there’s also a rock that portrays a boar ‘hunting’ a person, which is that the only picture here where the individual is that the hunted.
It was a Sunday well spent with family; on our way back home, we got an opportunity to go to other attractions nearby like Bhojpur Temple, Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary & Ginnorgarh Fort.
Frequently asked questions( FAQ)
What are the number of Bhimbetka Rock Shelters?
There are 700 rock shelters in Bhimbetka.
How many caves are found in Bhimbetka?
There are 500 caves in Bhimbetka.
Bhimbetka caves are famous for ?
Discovered in 1957, Bhimbetka caves are an archaeological site in Madhya Pradesh exhibits the presence of human lives in pre historic age of India.
How do I get to Bhimbetka rock shelters ?
The distance between Bhimbetka rock shelters and Bhopal is 46 km and can be reached from Bhopal via NH 46. Bhopal is the nearest city which is well connected by rail, road and air to rest of India.
Who found Bhimbetka caves?
Dr. Vishnu Wakankar discovered Bhimbetka caves in 1957.
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