Man’s Earliest Manifestation of Creativity
About the Rock Paintings
Bhimbetka is a group of rock shelters part of craggy sandstone formation in the Vindhya Range. There are over 700 rock shelters in this region. Of these, over 400 rock shelters are distributed over the five hills in the core area. These hills are Bineka, Bhonrawali, Bhimbetka, Lakha Juar East and Laka Juar West. Another group of rock shelters located in the Buffer zone known as Muni Baba Ki Pahari. Bhimbetka consists of 243 rock shelters in which 133 have rock paintings. It was brought to the notice of the academic world by Dr VS Wakankar of Vikram University, Ujjain in 1957.
The excavations carried out here have yielded evidences of continuous human occupation from Lower Palaeolithic till Medieval times. The subject matters of the paintings are human and animal figures, composite figures such as hunting scenes, battle scenes and cultural scenes that include dancers and musicians, daily life and many more, painted with mineral colours mainly ocher and while. These painted rock shelters were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2003. The paintings are closely associated with a hunting and gathering economy as demonstrated in the rock art and in the relics of this tradition in the local Vanvasi villages on the periphery of this site.
What to See
Here one can see 15 rock shelters occupied by the early man and the life depicted in paintings. Rock shelter three has some cupules made on the huge rock on the western end, considered by some scholars as the man’s earliest manifestation of creativity, probably associated with one lakh year before. An elaborated painted shelter four known as zoo rock comprises 252 animals of 16 different species. At rock shelter 15, an amazing scene of a giant mythical animal chasing a human, painted with ocher colour, can be seen on the upper surface of the rock shelter.
How to Reach
Bhimbetka is located about 45 km South East of Bhopal on the road to Hoshangabad under Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh.