Exploring Our Historical Past Event – Bhimbetka, The Rock Shelters

Exploring Our Historical Past Event -Bhimbetka, The Rock Shelter

Bhimbetka- The Rock Shelter

A majestic world of  our ancestor

Exploring beautiful places around the globe is what one wishes for always. Hello amigos! I recently visited a very beautiful and completely offbeat destination place, Bhimbetka.  This is my first travel blog. I have a bundle of travel experience to share, but the reason to go ahead first with Bhimbetka is not only due to its prehistoric aspects but also its magnetic natural sparkling beauty which ignites personal bonding with all nature and art lover. And I too have this unimaginable bonding with Bhimbetka. 

Manoj Nikhil at Bhimbetka- The Rock Shelters

Here, I will scribe my personal adventurous journey to Bhimbetka. Bhimbetka considered as one of the most-talked-about ancient sites in India. Since prehistoric time, Bhimbetka reflects a long interaction between the people and nature, as demonstrated in the quantity and quality of its rock art. The cave paintings though look very simple but are one of the earliest recordings of human settlers in India describing their socio-cultural evolution. The earliest cave painting at Bhimbetka rock shelters is as old as 30,000 years. The lush green Bhimbetka is also associated with a legendary character from Mahabharat: Bhima. The word Bhimbetka is said to be derived from Bhimbaithaka, a seat of Bhim. It is the resting place of Bhima when he was in exile with his Pandava’s brother. It is also a UNESCO world heritage. Knowing this, Bhimbetka was on my list for the top five places to visit. 

Bhimbetka Site Detail
Bhimbetka site detail (Source- ASI)

This indelible journey was taken into motion last year. I visited Raipur January’2017 on a business trip. And Bhimbetka came in route to on my return journey to Delhi via Bhopal. I visited the Bhimbetka rock shelters by Honda jazz car. Road tour has always been dear to me; it generates the opportunity to feel nature’s beauty deeply. The weather was perfect, the cool wind was breezing and I was engulfed in the serenity of nature passing by.  Being a solo traveller always gives impeccable tenderness in me towards nature. I enjoy every moment of my road trip. I always essay memorable conversation with nature, a perplexing moment connecting my soul with nature. This is the secret for a peaceful and soulful living experience. So whenever I get a chance to travel alone, then I do not miss that opportunity. Solo travel also gives an opportunity to discover yourself. It increases to accepting a challenge and these increases or building your confidence level.

Location Map of Bhimbetka- The Rock Shelters
Inside Location Map of Bhimbetka (Source- ASI)
Bhimbetka is in Raisen district, 45 kilometres southwest of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The closest city is Obedullaganj. It is a UNESCO world heritage, consisting of seven hills Vinayaka, Bhonrawali, Bhimbetka, Lakha Juar, Jhondra and Muni Babaki Pahari. It is extended over 10 kilometres at the southern edge of Vindhya and Satpura Hills. Around 760 rock shelters are distributed over 10 kilometres in these ranges. More than 500 caves contain paintings and other artworks. Bhimbetka hills contain largest cave- 243, then Lakha Juar contains 178 caves respectively, hence it is also called Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, located inside Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary.  

Bhimbetka- The Rock Shelters
Path direction inside Bhimbetka
The rock art at Bhimbetka is one of a first rare glimpse of homo-erectus settlement in India. It is the collection of Prehistoric, Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods as well as the historic period. It represents the true and live pictures of ancient historical human races and their lifestyle. The subject of art is very rich, engages the socio-cultural evolution of early settlers from hunter-gathering to agriculture and involves the spiritual context of early settlers. It has the oldest known rock art in the Indian subcontinent and shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus more than 100,000 years ago. They used either vegetable colours or minerals like manganese, iron and charcoal for the painting on the inner walls of the cave. The shades of cave preserved the valuable art for centuries. These arts are rich with red, white and yellow colour and vibrant over greenish, pale yellow sandstone. The rock art depicts the human figures man, woman and even indeterminate, animals like boar, ox, elephant and scenes like hunting, battle, festivals and families. Some of the inscriptions also depict mythological aspects of early settlers, for example, monk and hermits living in isolation, an important aspect of VANWASH, a Hindu way of living. There are also the pictures of a mythological animal which is the combination of boar, ox and elephant, yakshas, flying chariots, etc, giving a glimpse of the very early development of Hinduism.
Bhimbetka- The Rock Shelters
Inside nature beauty of Bhimbetka

The most remarkable rock arts are in the big cave also known as Auditorium cave. It is surrounded by quartzite towers, visible far distance. The Auditorium cave is a horizontal tunnel with a high ceiling. It hosts one of the oldest stone gravings in the world. The cupule and meander stone graving look very impressive. I thanked God for giving me a chance to visit this place. It was an amazing experience. It is one of the must place to visit who loves art and nature. It will give you a deep understanding of the life of our ancestors. We have visited all the 15 rock caves. The rock paintings are very rich in information.  All these 15-rock shelters tell about the history of our ancestors, how they lived thousands of years ago, how their life was, what eaten and how their social life was. Ie, every day of their life activities. Another important point is that we can predict our ancestor’s communication skills in the absence of their vocal communication from their available paintings that how to communicate with each other and the process of conveying to others.  We hired a guide who explains the history behind all the paintings. Sometimes we also use the internet to google the information. It almost took 5 hours to visit all the rock paintings. All 15 rock shelters are within the range of 1400 meters. There are notice boards with full details at the entrance of all caves, so people do not have trouble finding information about rock shelters.

Bhimbetka- The Rock Shelters
Inside view of Bhimbetka

By the time we finished our visit, it was almost lunchtime. We found a nice picnic spot, very close to the Auditorium cave. We ate our sandwich and drank the tea and admiring the artistic view of our ancestors. All three of us were mesmerized by the natural beauty of Bhimbetka. We took a few pictures of ours for keeping this memory alive. This is a very good place for enriching our knowledge of our ancestors and understand the origin of religion and rituals. If you are a student of archaeology and loves art, this is the place which you should visit.  This does not place for recluse but also rejoice the company of loved ones.  During our visit we have seen lots of couples, sojourning their moment in Bhimbetka. If you are lucky, you will also see wildlife. Bhimbetka situated in Ratapani wildlife sanctuary, the surrounding is also rich with lush green flora and fauna. While having lunch, we were lucky to see doves, parrots and swamp deer. It also has habitats of antelope, deer, chinkara, langur, rhesus monkey and porcupine. There are also lots of birds for example pigeons, doves, parakeets, woodpeckers, mynas and drongos.

Inside Nature Beauty of Bhimbetka

Rock Shelter-1 contains the pictures of the historic period.

Bhimbetka- The Rock Shelters

Rock Shelter-3 is a big rock shelter of size 39 m long, 4 m wide and 17m high and situated at the western location of the map. It contains a wide range of animals painting. It is also known as auditorium due to its shape.

Bhimbetka- The Rock Shelters

Rock Shelter-4 is semicircular in shape. It also contains paintings of different species of animals.  It is also known as Zoo rock. Link for a photo gallery on Bhimbetka is- Photo Gallery- Bhimbetka, The Rock Shelters

Bhimbetka- The Rock Shelters

Rock Shelter-15It is situated towards the north, near Betwa River basin.  All rock shelters were amazing and important on every point of view.

Bhimbetka- The Rock Shelters

Mythological view:-

Bhimbetka owns an important place in Hinduism. The place is considered a seat of Bhim, one of Pandava’s brothers of epic, the Mahabharata. The Bana Ganga at its southwestern end, the well that is originated from Arjuna’s arrow. Also, the spring Pandapur, southeast of Bhimbetka owns the name of Pandava. But there is no literary evidence to connect the area with Mahabharata.

This place is also associated with Buddhists. There are some Buddhists monastic site was found from Sunga period back to second century BC, near Bhimbetka- Bineka, who had used to these prehistoric shelters for a living. Buddhist stupas and rock-cut beds were also found in these places. There are Buddhists temple from the eleventh century near the Bana Ganga. 

As a historical point of view, inscriptions were found which is related to Sunga, Kushan, Gupta and Shankha dynasty period.

How to visit: –

(Source Map- Google)

Bhimbetka is located close to Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh i.e. 45 kilometres southeast of Bhopal and situated in a small district, Raisen. The nearest city is Obdullaganj. It is easily accessible by road from different cities of Madhya Pradesh. It is situated on Bhopal-Hoshangabad. You can take a trip from nearby cities of Sanchi, Indore and Ujjain also.

The state capital Bhopal is on the main trunk route between Mumbai, Kolkata & Delhi whilst a Rajdhani Express run for New Delhi and daily trains are available. It also has good connectivity with many state capitals and other important cities too. Also, Bhopal has excellent air connectivity with important cities in India- Delhi, Mumbai, Jabalpur, Indore Gwalior, etc. and approx 46 km from Raja Bhoj Airport at Bhopal to caves which are the nearest airport.

The transport from the Bhopal lacks public transport. The public transport run daily but the frequency is less and not comfortable because this is extremely tiring and time-consuming. The Taxi service to the Bhimbetka is the best option. The advantages of this will be that you can able to visit nearby attractive tourist spots like Bhojpur temple, Bhimbetka Tal and Narmada/Cauvery viewpoint in a day.   Another option is to hire a bike taxi which is available at the railway station and hotels.  The bike taxi service is provided by the local resident but could be risky. 
Bhojpur Temple at Bhopal
Bhojpur Temple

Staying facilities: –

The only lodging facilities near Bhimbetka are the hotel Highway Treat, maintained by Madhya Pradesh Tourism. The lodging is very rudimentary. For upscale residence facilities, nearby Bhopal has a better option. There is a different range of the accommodations: on upscale, there is Jehan Numa Palace, Mariot Bhopal and Heritage Noor-Us-Sabah Palace; medium upbeats are Ranjit Lakeview, Clark’s resort, Surendra Vilas etc. Many cheaper lodges are also available like Shri Vilas, Pathik, Sun Park, Adarsh Palace etc.  

Hence there are lots of option, one could choose from one’s taste, budget and convenience. You can also visit and contact Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board office for accommodations, plan trip and more information: –
Tourist helpline no.- 18002337777
Address- Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board,
6th Floor, Lily Trade Wing (above D Mart)
Jehangirabad, Bhopal- 462008


There is a restaurant available near at Bhimbetka T junction which is near to railway crossing on NH-42. The best option would be to pack some snacks and drinks from Bhopal.

The right time to explore: –

The best time to visit Bhimbetka is from early September to early March. During this period, the weather is moderately cool and nature is in full bloom. The forest road towards Bhimbetka is only open after sunrise and closes just before sunset.  The site is maintained by ASI and the ticket counter is open for all days (weekend included), from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Fee details: –

Entry fee is INR 10 for Indian and INR 100 for foreign tourists. Parking fee for light motor vehicles (LMV) for Indians is INR 50 and INR 200 for foreigners and Indian and Foreigners parking of minibuses are INR 100 & INR 400 respectively. There are no charges on photography & videography. The licensed guides are available at the entrance. They will charge INR 350 for an hour.

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