Enclosed by the northern tassel of the majestic Vindhyans, Bhimbetka in Bhopal is characterized by rock-strewn topography with thick woods and wrinkled precipices. The biggest depository of antediluvian knacks in India, Bhimbetka is a retreat of serenity and harmony for the picnickers. One of the most primitive dwellings of human race, Bhimbetka boasts of a history of 35000 years old. In fact, the place has witnessed a cultural sequence right from the late Stone Age to the early historic period. The flamboyant paintings that depict the living styles of primeval mankind are definitely a treasure house of information and a precious narrative in the history of man.
As the name itself suggests, this historic place is closely related to the legendary figure Bhim, the second in the Pandavas. The popular belief is that, it was here that Bhim took a brief rest during his exile. The word Bimbetka literally means Bim’s lounge.
A marvel in the archaeological perspective, Bimbetka is adorned with the accolade of being the richest depository of prehistoric paintings, in South Asia. It is the twenty second place in India, which is declared as a World heritage site by UNESCO. The Rock Shelters at Bhimbetka exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India. Archeologists are of the opinion that these caves might have been occupied over 10,000 years ago.
These paintings portray the transition of primitive man to a cultured human being. These paintings, which unearths the expectations and qualms of the inhabitants of the caves enthralls every visitor with its liveliness. It is quite amazing to note that the artists had shown great skill in portraying the sequence of events in his artwork. A wide spectrum of activities is being illustrated on the walls, which ranges from frescos of animals to the portraits of woman.
Bordered by impenetrable forests and wobbly crags, the site also offers spectacular sceneries and poses a treasure trove for bird lovers. The magnificent paintings in the rock shelters are the gateway to the primordial colonnade of Bhimbetka. If truth were told, each stone and every pendant rock in Bhimbetka would verbalize the miraculous history of human civilization. This unique archaeological location is a recommended spot for those who are really interested to acquaint with the primordial society.
A rare facility to go back to the roots of mankind makes touring in Bimbetka an unusual experience. Bimbekta paintings are not only finest artistic works but also it gives valuable tips about the earliest inhabitants.
Bhimbetka has hot and cool climate all through the years.
Summers (March to May) are hot and dry with temperatures soaring to 42°C and having a minimum of 25°C and typically tourists avoid the hot days in April and May.
Monsoons (June to September) dominate the climate here with moderate temperature and lot of heavy rainfall. Bhimbetka adorns greenish during the Monsoons.
Winters (December to February) are pleasant and sunny with minimum touching nearly 8°C in nights. Best season to visit Bhimbetka is between July and March.
April and May offer dry weather with high temperatures and so outings may be avoided. June to September is good for tourists liking the heavy intermittent rains. October to March is excellent for outdoors trips and sightseeing.
October and November are festival seasons with religious festivals like Diwali and Navarathri. February - March is attractive with Holi celebrations with imposing festivities and gaiety.
One among the most desired tourist destinations, Bhimbetka Caves, in the state of Madhya Pradesh are bounded by the Vindhya mountain ranges. These caves were the dwellings of the aborigines of pre-historic times, which encompass marvelous paintings from Paleolithic to Medieval era. These paintings act as a glittering edifice that showcases the progression of human race in the course of time. These caves, which range up to a maximum of 600 caves, are famed for the exquisite cave paintings. Out of the 600 caves, only 12 are accessible to the public, which presents some of the oldest paintings in the world.
The paintings present a close proximity towards the indigenous rock paintings of Australia, cave paintings of Lascaux in France, Bushmen cave paintings of the Kalahari Desert.
Concealed in the midst of teak and sal forests in the weathered crags, these caves were discovered by, Mr V S Wakankar in 1957 and they have gained many accolades with in this short span of time. The sand stone walls of Bhimbetka caves are ornamented with primeval native paintings and symbols that portray the daily life and ethnicity of the Stone Age people.
All the paintings and ciphers are classified into seven categories and the paintings exhibits a skillful presentation of events in the day-to-day life of the people lived in the caverns. The modish of the paintings of different periods is so diverse that one can easily distinguish between them. Huge linear figures of animals like bears, tigers and rhinoceroses belonged to the Paleolithic age. By the passing of time, the paintings befell smaller, and the artistic quality has shown little more creative. This fabulous depiction of events boasts of paintings that date back to 12000 years old. Natural red and white pigments used in the frescos managed to keep its vibrancy in its original charm.
The stockades of these caverns are the silent testimonials of the history of our ancestors who once toddled on this land. Bhimbetka caves are a perfect day-long jaunt, which allures the onlooker with its mesmerizing frescos.
The Bhimbetaka Rock Shelters are a credible source of information about the pre-historic life of Indian civilization. These paintings boasts of the societal life of the people lived in that era. These rock shelters are included in the prestigious world heritage site lists of the UNESCO.
Formerly found its mention as the Buddhist centers, this rock shelters are recognized as the dwellings of the pre-historic man during the year 1957. The entire area is covered by substantial vegetation, has copious natural resources, natural shelters, with perennial water supplies.
Bimbetka Rock shelters are classified as Lakha Juar group and Bhimbetka group, which depict an incessant progression of Stone Age cultures. These shelters are acclaimed as the oldest stone floors and wall in the entire world itself. The outstanding feature of this rock shelters are its downy nature with implausible contour, stunning tinges and feels.
The rock shelters and caves of Bhimbetka have a number of interesting paintings which depict the lives and times of the people who lived in the caves, including scenes of childbirth, communal dancing and drinking, religious rites and burials, as well as the natural environment around them. Besides the hub of aboriginal information, these stunning rock formations are excellent study materials for a geologist.
The superimposition of paintings shows that the same canvas was used by different people at different times. The drawings and paintings can be classified under seven different periods:
These are linear representations, in green and dark red, of huge figures of animals such as bisons, tigers and rhinoceros.
Comparatively small in size, the stylized figures show linear decoration of the body. In addition to animals, there are human figures and hunting scenes, giving a clear picture of the weapons they used - barbed spears, pointed sticks, bow and arrows. The depiction of communal dances, birds, musical instruments, mother and child, pregnant women, men carrying dead animals, drinking and burials appear in rhythmic movement.
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.
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 scripts of different periods. The religious beliefs are represented by figures of yakshas, tree gods and magical sky chariots.
These paintings are geometric, linear and more schematic, but show degeneration and crudeness in their artistic style.
Bhopal Airport, also known as Raja Bhoj Airport, is the nearest airport, which is 45 km away from Bhimbetka. Taxi Cab will charge about Rs 600, one way. Bhopal airport is connected to Mumbai, Indore, Gwalior and Delhi. International flights to Gulf cities like Sharjah and Dubai are operated from Bhopal.
Madhya Pradesh road transport services are available in Bhimbetka connecting to nearby cities. From Bhopal to Bhimbetka it costs about Rs 40. Luxury buses are available overnight from Delhi to Bhopal. Distance between Bhimbetka and Delhi is about 790 km.
Bhopal Railway Station is the nearest railhead to Bhimbetka. It has connection trains to all major cities in India. Daily Shatabdi expresses shuttle between Bhopal and Delhi.