Bhimbetka Rock Shelters - Admire the beautiful paintings of Bhimbetka Rock Shelters. The colours are really inspiring.

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Bhimbetka Rock Shelters

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Madhya Pradesh Cities
- Khajuraho
Madhya Pradesh Attractions
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Location - Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Best Time To Visit - September to February

Today artists look for air-conditioned art galleries to display their art forms. But long ago there was an art gallery of a different sort - Bhimbetka. Bhimbetka was where man expressed his artistic yearnings some 10,000 years ago. The rock shelters are located about 45 km from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. The place has a treasure of hundreds of paintings that depict the pre-historic way of life. Bhimbetka is believed to have had continuous habitation. Bhimbetka is a breathtaking site. It is incredible in terms of locale and the longevity of occupation. One can say that there are multiple histories immortalized here. Bhimbetka Rock SheltersHistory
The rock shelters of Bhimbetka has been named after Bhim Vatika or garden of Bhima, the Pandava prince in Mahabharata. The site is spread over 10 km in length and about 3 km in width. There are over 700 rock shelters, of which over 400 have paintings that date back to 5,500-1,000 BC. The paintings range from the Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic Age to the proto-historic, early historic and medieval periods.

Rock Art and Paintings
The paintings of Bhimbetka are very inspiring and artistic. The main ones , named the Auditorium Rock Shelters, Zoo Rock and Boar Rock depict animals such as elephant, sambhar, bison, deer, tiger, lion, lizard and crocodile. Everyday activities like hunting, dancing and drinking are also depicted. Scenes of childbirth, religious rites and burials can also be found among the paintings. The works have been done mainly in red and white with the occasional use of green and yellow. The paintings have not lost their charm and still look very much lively because the colours were probably prepared by combining manganese, hematite, soft red stone and wooden charcoal, mixed with animal fat and extracts of leaves.

Most of the paintings have been done on the walls, some can also be seen on the ceilings. The shelters have been made by massive sandstone outcrops within a forest. They were hidden from visitors for hundreds of years till archaeologist VS Wakankar saw them from train in 1957 and revisited to study them in detail. Continuous discoveries have been done here which has made the place a treasure trove for archeology enthusiasts even today. Bhimbetka was first mentioned in Indian archaeological records in 1888 as a Buddhist site. Around fifteen caves of Bhimbetka are open to the public.

Feather to the Cap
The rock shelters of Bhimbetka have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. These caves are being preserved for posterity as they are a treasure trove of history and art from time. Bhimbetka is said to be the oldest human settlement in India and one of the oldest sites in the world where petroglyphs were found.

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