An archaeological site of the Paleolithic Bhimbetka rock shelters is where you will find the earliest traces of human life on the Indian subcontinent. Painted mainly in red and white with the occasional touch of green and yellow, the themes are taken from the every day events of aeons ago. The scenes usually depict hunting, dancing, music, horse and elephant riders, animals fighting, honey collection, decoration of bodies, disguises, masking and household scenes. The animals such as bisons, tigers, lions, wild boars, elephants, antelopes, dogs, lizards, crocodiles, etc. have been abundantly depicted in some caves. Popular religious and ritual symbols also occur frequently.
It is said that the name Bhimbetka is named after Bhima, a hero-deity of the epic Mahabharata. The word Bhimbetka is said to have derive from Bhimbaithka, meaning “sitting place of Bhima”.
The beginning of the South Asian Stone Age is also evidently traced from here is located in the Raisen District in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. At least some of the shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus more than 300,000 years ago. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old. The caves also deliver early evidence of dance. They were declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.
Places to see at Bhimbetka: The superimposition of paintings showcase that the same canvas was used by different people at different times. The drawings and paintings can be classified under seven different periods:
Period I – Upper Paleolithic: These are linear representations, in green and dark red, of huge figures of animals such as bisons, tigers and rhinoceroses.
Period II – Mesolithic: Comparatively small in size, the stylized figures in this group show linear decoration on the body. The depiction of communal dances, birds, musical instruments, mother and child, pregnant women, men carrying dead animals, drinking and burials appear in rhythmic movement.
Period III – Chaleolithic: Similar to the paintings of Chaleolithic pottery, these drawings reveal that during the period the cave dwellers of this area had come in contact with the agricultural communities of the Malwa plains and started an exchange of their requirements with each other.
Period IV & V – Early Historic: The figures of this group have a schematic and decorative style, and are painted mainly in red, white and yellow. The association is of riders, depiction of religious symbols, tunic-like dresses and the existence of the scripts of different periods.
Period VI & VII – Medieval: These paintings are geometric, linear and more schematic, but they show degeneration and crudeness in their artistic style. The colours used by the cave dwellers, prepared combining manganese, haematite, soft red stone, wooden coal and also sometimes by animal fat and extracts of leaves is still remains intact.
Nearby attractions from Bhimbetka: While in Bhimbetka you can make a visit to Bhojpur just 20 km from the place. Here the great Shaivite Bhojpureshwar temple was constructed by the legendary Raja Bhoj.
Another place called Hoshangabad is about 40 km away from Bhimbetka. It is a city based on the banks of river Narmada famous for the Sethani Ghat along the banks of River Narmada and the Hoshangabad Fort.
Things to do at Bhimbetka: At Bhimbetka observe the wonderful paintings painted on the same canvas in the different ages.
Best time to visit Bhimbetka: The best time to visit Bhimbetka Rock Shelters is between the months of June to March – with the monsoon rains ((June to September) arguably being the most optimal with cool temperature adding to the scenic beauty of the location.
How to go ?
By air: Bhopal (46 km from Bhimbetka ) is the nearest airport. It is connected with Mumbai, Delhi, Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior.
By road: Bhimbetka is connected by bus with Bhopal.
By rail: Bhopal, on the Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Mumbai mainline is the most convenient rail-head.
Where to stay ?
There are not many hotels at Bhimbetka. It is better to stay at Hoshangabad or Bhopal Some options are:
Highway Treat: (07480)281558
Amer Greens: +91-755-40127701, 9630097156, 9630097155, 9630097157
Hotel Classic: 0755- 4276412, 2469412, 2469413.
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.