From Bhojpur we moved to Bhimbetka to explore the rock shelters which is which is located in Vindhyan mountain range in the central India.
It is a rocky terrain of dense forest and craggy cliffs. In 1957, V S Wakanker of the Vikram University, Ujjain discovered over 1000 rock shelters belonging to the Neolithic age spread over a area of 10 x 4 Kms. In more than 500 of these caves there are paintings that depict the life of the prehistoric cave dwellers. Here there is also evidence of Stone Age habitation from the lower Palaetholic period to the late Mesolithic. It is a natural art gallery and an archaeological treasure.
In 2003, UNESCO made them part of the World Heritage List. Out of the over 1000 caves, the 15 of them are extraordinary ones. It is amazing how these caves are located in convoluted cliffs on the top of a hill.
These caves depict paintings belonging to the Paleolithic (10,000 BC), Mesolithic (5,000 BC) and the Chalcolithic (2,000 BC) periods. The paintings are mainly in red and white. There is also hint of other colors being used like green and yellow. Most of the paintings depict the scenes hunting, dancing, music, horse and elephant riders, animals fighting, honey collection, decoration of bodies, disguises, masking and household scenes. Animals such as bison’s, tigers, lions, wild boar, elephants, deers, dogs, lizards, crocodiles etc, have been abundantly depicted in some caves.
There are unobtrusive and clear passageways that have been provided, so that visitors can view the paintings at leisure but are kept sufficiently away not to cause any damage. We will explore this place in several sections in subsequent posts as: