Bhimbetka Caves

Bhimbetka Caves - An ancient Heritage Site

Bhimbetka Caves, located near Bhopal at a distance of 46 km, are among the most fascinating and attention-grabbing tourist destinations in the state of Madhya Pradesh. These caves are known for their huge archeological importance in India. These caves possess a treasure of prehistoric art in the country.

History of Bhimbetka Caves

The Bhimbetka Caves were discovered accidentally by Dr V. S. Wakankar, a well known Indian archeologist, in 1958 while he was on his way to Nagpur. The Bhimbetka Caves depict the essence of ancient cave art in India. The charm of the place is extremely lively, even though it is dilapidated. The "Bhimbetka" is derived from the word "Bhim Baitka" after a character in the Mahabharata. Based on mythology, the Bhimbetka Cave's name is associated with the name "Bhima" who was one of the "Pandavas". The entire meaning of the name stands for "The Lounge of Bheem" because this is where he rested after being exiled from his kingdom along with his brothers.

About Bhimbetka Caves

The caves reflect the lifestyle of some of the earliest human races in the country. Records mentioning Bhimbetka Caves were found on a Buddhist site. Recognizing its exceptional importance to mankind, the caves were declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2003. This is the 22ndworld heritage site declared by UNESCO in India. With time, the excavations undertaken by Hass, Misra and Wakankar revealed more secrets of the Mesolithic, Acheulian and Stone Age cultures.

These pre-historic caves house the largest collection of paintings and ancient art by ancient mankind in India. The paintings depicted on the walls are not any routine work of art; rather they are extraordinary pieces of art having no contemporary matches. Besides, the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka shed light on the early years of the human race as they as much as 15,000 years old. The recent paintings in the caves date back 1,000 years. There are five clusters of natural rock shelters with paintings depicting a hunting and gathering economy.

The same canvas is used to paint the images in different eras and that created several layers of artwork with superimposition of images. These paintings showcase seven different periods.

Upper Paleolithic: Period I

The wall paintings are mostly linear representations of prehistoric figures of beasts like boar, tiger and bison along with a human figurine portraying hunting scenes.

Mesolithic: Period II

Relatively smaller images, the paintings have stylish figurines of a group showing decorations of their body. Moreover, it also includes the depiction of different weapons used at that time and showcased in the hunting scenes. Moving further, you will witness the medieval paintings of various birds and tribal dances.

Chaleolithic: Period III

The paintings of the Chaleolithic period show the mutual social exchange and the association between people during that time.

Early Historic - Period IV & V

The paintings are a bit advanced and done in schematic designs. The pictures are painted in a decorative style showcasing the religious symbols and the scripts of different periods.

Medieval: Period VI & VII

Images are linear, geometrically proper and better designed and planned. However, the artistic style was poorer than their predecessors. The paintings of "Nataraja" and "Ganesh" can be seen for the first time on the walls of these caves.

There are several sections built inside this cave, though not all are given access to and in fact, all are not open for public viewing.


Bhimbetka caves are situated in a small town of Madhya Pradesh named Raisen. About 45 kilometers to the south of Bhopal city, in the cradle of the mighty Vindhyachal Mountains lies the contiguous train of caves in the midst of lush green scenery.

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