Bhimbetka cave is a sprawling cave located in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is situated at the south of Bhopal, just 46 km’s away. This cave demands distinction as one of the biggest treasure habitats of ancient art in the world. The Bhimbetka cave is given the name after Bhima who was the one among the Mahabharata’s five Pandava. The cave of Bhimbetka shows an alarming view with craggy cliffs, rocky terrain and plenty of greenery in the dense forest. The northern edges of the bygone era ranges of Vindhyachal are habitat to the overwhelming Paintings and rock shelters.
Photos by Nagarjun,
The Bhimbetka cave was discovered by the accidents of the ancient era in 1957-1958. A wide collection of ancient era paintings and art are depicted in these caves.This includes 600 caves in which only 12 caves are open for the travelers. The open caves depict the top and best paintings which are present in the other caves. Bhimbetka cave, one of the oldest caves is also recognized as one of the world heritage sites by UNESCO.
Means Of Transport
Bhimbetka can be reached through a various mode of transport. Bhimbetka is connected to Bhopal through buses. Rail facility is also available from the different cities like Delhi- Mumbai and Delhi-Chennai. Various flights connect Bhopal with Gwalior, Indore, Delhi, and Mumbai. Bhopal airport is just 46 km away from Bhimbetka.
Bhimbetka can be visited at any month of the year, but July-march is considered as the best period to visit the cave and enjoy the calmness of these caves here. Staying option is not available in the caves but few km’s away is the Bhopal district where the travelers can find accommodation facilities. High-class hotels and resorts are available there where they can enjoy food facilities.
Various Art And Architecture
Photos by Arian Zwegers,
Bhimbetka is an archaeological treasure and natural art gallery. The paintings on the rock have various layers related to various ancient times i.e protohistoric, the medieval period, upper Palaeolithic period. Most of the bygone era scenes belong to Mesolithic age. The rock shelters ceiling depict the beautiful paintings which are at a great height.
The vegetation and dense forest protected the paintings on the rock from being vanished through forces of nature. The scenes depicted in the caves are dancing, hunting, elephant and horse riders, honey collection, animal fights, disguises, bodies decorated, different types of mask and animal etc. The social life of the ancient time is also depicted by this rock cut cave shelters.
In the rock cut, cave shelters animals like peacocks, lizards, antelopes, monkeys, elephants, wild boar, rhinoceros, tiger, bison etc are also depicted. Rituals symbols and popular religious are also depicted here. The dwellers in the cave created colors by combining wooden charcoal, soft Redstone, hematite, and manganese. In this mixture leaves extraction and animal fat were also mixed.
Bhimbetka rock art has been divided into different groups on the terms of subject and style. The paintings superimposition showed that at the different time at different people used the same canvas. The paintings and drawings can be further classified under seven periods. The paintings in this period are schematic, linear and geometric but depict crudeness and degeneration in their architectural style. Today the paintings of God Nataraja and Ganesha also appears in these rock cut cave shelters.
In Period I i.e Palaeolithic age the paintings are linear, schematic and geometric sculptures of animals like bisons, bear, rhinoceroses, and tigers. By the passage of time, the paintings comparatively became smaller in size, precise and sharply. The paintings in Period II i.e Mesolithic age the paintings depicted the hunting and dancing scenes of human figures. The paintings give the clear picture of that ancient era in which the weapons were used. The weapons used were arrows, bows, pointed sticks and barbed spears. the rock cut shelter also depicted the pictures of human figures drinking and carrying dead bodies of animals, pregnant women, child and mother, birds and communal dances. In Period III i.e Chalcolithic age the paintings depicted the mutual exchange, contact, and association of necessity of this cave residents residing in the Malwa plains agricultural community. Later the paintings and artistry got converted into religious images from raw art which depicted the changing mindset of the cave dwellers. In Period IV i.e the early historic age, the paintings and sculptures are decorative style and schematic and painted in green, white and red colors showing the script, tunic dresses, religious symbols and riders of different age groups. In Period V i.e Medieval age depict scenes of today period when the technology of iron had become significant right from the period when the human was the hunter gatherer. The art on the rock shelters depict the activities of ancient man, the animals, the clothing and another day to day activities of that period.
Photos by Nagarjun,
Bhimbetka are not only famous for its rock art and caves but it also takes us to the ancient era where the visitors can capture the beautiful moments. Other important periods are also depicted in these caves. Bhimbetka is a habitat of those yesterday remains where the Buddhist were influenced in the Sunga/Maurya periods. The Shankha script is also found here which was hidden so far. The Parmara period architectural paintings of a temple are also found here.
Bhimbetka cave also gives us insights into the rapid changes the man was facing in the ancient era. A large number of hunting tools are found here during the researches made by the universities. Bhimbetka caves acted as shelter sites for the different ages right from the Palaeolithic to Medieval age. The artistic treasure of Bhimbetka caves acted as extraordinary chronical into the man history. The rapid adaptations and various progress in the lifestyles of the man are depicted here in the rock art and paintings. The adoption of natural elements in the lifestyle for his convenience and comforts are depicted in the rock shelter.
Lastly, it can be said that if you wish to travel Madhya Pradesh then Bhimbetka cave is a must visit site.