Bhimbetka Caves - Walk Past The Ages
Bhimbetka Caves, in a very short span of time have become the most visited attraction in Madhya Pradesh and have earned a place in the list of one of the best in India. Situated just 46 km from Bhopal, these exquisite caves are surrounded by the northern limits of Vindhya mountain Range. As the legend goes, these hills got their name after Bhima, one of the five Pandava brothers. The name 'Bhim-bet-ka' means 'where Bhim sat down'. There are more than 600 caves that have the collection of oldest Prehistoric paintings in India. These caves were found by Dr. V.S Wakankar, the famous Indian archaeologists in the year 1958. It took around 16 years to excavate the entire area covered by these caves. Although there are more than 600 caves , only 12 are open for tourists at the moment, but they show you the best paintings that are there in all other caves. And out of the 24 world heritage sites that have been recognized by UNESCO in India, Bhimbetka caves are the oldest one.
Attractions of Bhimbetka Caves
These caves had been used as a shelter by people from the earliest of periods. Thus you will find paintings of all periods starting from Paleolithic era to Medieval era. The paintings turn out to be a mirror showing evolution of humanity through time. The style of the paintings of separate periods are so different that you can easily differentiate between them. The paintings of Paleolithic age are huge linear figures of animals like tigers, bears and rhinoceroses. As the time passed, the paintings became smaller, shapely and more precise. The paintings now depicted the daily chores of people like hunting and dancing. Slowly the artistry from raw art turned into religious images showing the change in the mindset. Oldest painting is said to be around 12000 years old whereas the most recent is around 1000 years old. The colors used by the cave dwellers, were prepared by combining manganese, hematite, soft red stone and wooden coal. The paintings over the years have stayed unharmed by nature due to the reaction between the chemicals present in rocks and the color. Even animal fat and plant leaves were also used in the mixture.
When and How to Reach
You can visit the cave any time of the year although July and March is the best time to enjoy the charm of the caves. There are not many staying options around the caves, but Bhopal is just 46 km away and you will find world class accommodation there. Reaching to Bhimbetka caves is not very difficult due to its proximity to Bhopal. The city is well connected by flights as well as rail line from all parts of the country. From Bhopal, there are many buses that run to and fro between the caves and the city. You can also hire a taxi to the caves.
The walls of these caves are literally the unspoken story of our ancestors who once walked on this land. Just few miles from Bhopal, Bhimbetka caves are an ideal day long excursion from the capital city. Come and lose yourself in the many fascinating caves that are a dream world in themselves.