Bhimbetka Rock Shelters: The Mystery of Madhya Pradesh (2023)
Madhya Pradesh has many historically significant spots, but Bhimbetka caves are unique sites in the state. Apart from being historically significant, this place plays a vital role in the archaeological findings of India. Bhimbetka is the only place in India where you will witness the traces of Homo Sapiens from over 30,000 years ago. The entire area of Bhimbetka is surrounded by rock shelters decorated by paintings from thousands of years ago. Although there are some controversies regarding the age of the pictures, the caves are indeed at least 30,000 years old. Some of the caves are claimed to be more than 100,000 years old, but that is not confirmed. Tourists from all over the world visit these caves in Madhya Pradesh because they are listed under the UNESCO world heritage site from 2003. The caves of Bhimbetka are from the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, and it is the only place in India where you will be able to find the evidence of Stone Age.
There are more than 750 rock shelters in Bhimbetka, and the entire area comprises over 10 square kilometers. Bhimbetka caves are quite famous in the world as they offer a unique and rare glimpse into the lives of the early inhabitants of the world. It has the most ancient rock formation in the Indian subcontinent. The first person who discovered these caves was V.S. Wakankar. He found these caves in 1957. At first, archaeologists did not fathom the importance of the spot, but later in the 1970s, they understood these caves were from the Stone Age. The most important part about this site is that it has the world’s oldest rocks. Even though the paintings seen on the walls of the caves are more than 30,000 years old, they are incredibly vivid. If you are planning on visiting Bhimbetka rock shelters, you must read this blog. In this travel guide, you will get all the essential information regarding the archaeologically important site in Madhya Pradesh.
Unique Facts About Bhimbetka Rock Shelters
There are some interesting facts regarding Bhimbetka rock shelters, which every tourist must know. Even if you are not interested in history or archaeology, you will find the following facts quite interesting.
The paintings on the walls of the rock shelters in Bhimbetka are so vivid that they were made using colors sourced from hematite, manganese, red stones, and coals. Most of the paintings visible on the rocks are made of yellow, green, red, and white colors. Apart from the said items, animal blood and vegetable extracts were also used to create those colors. You will be pretty surprised to know that the inhabitants of the caves used plant fibers to construct painting brushes at that time.
One of the most astonishing things about Bhimbetka rock shelters is that, when discovered in the 19th century, the Archaeological Survey of India recorded it as a Buddhist site. They did not understand the significance of the location. The place was not considered the testament of human settlement in the stone age until Dr. V.S. Wakankar discovered the entire site in 1957.
According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that Bhim, the second Pandava, used to stay in the caves. That is why the site was named Bhimbetka, which roughly translates to “A place where Bhim Sits.”
Different Rock Shelters Of Bhimbetka
Even though there are more than 700 rock shelters in the entire area, not all can be viewed by the general public. Over 400 caves are located in five hills which are namely Bhonrawali, Bhimbetka, Lakha Juar East, Bineka, and Lakha Juar West. Other caves are located in the buffer zone of the location situated in Munibaba ki Pahari. Out of all the hills, Bhimbetka is the most popular, and there are more than 243 rock shelters. But out of them, you will be able to visit only 15 shades. In the 15 caves, you will see the evidence of life lead by human beings from different periods, including Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Chalcolithic, Historical, and medieval. In the following section of the blog, we will tell you the significance of the essential rock shelters in Bhimbetka.
Rock Shelter 1
In this cave, you will see the paintings of two elephants rode by men with sword, spears and goads, horse riders, and soldiers.
Rock Shelter 3
This cave is also known as an auditorium cave, and it has the maximum number of paintings among the 15 caves open to the public in Bhimbetka. These caves depict pictures of buffaloes, bulls, tiger, peacock, deer, and baskets. The unique part about this cave is that you will get to see a child’s handprint on the walls.
Rock Shelter 4
In this cave, you will be able to see paintings of more than 16 species of animals on the walls. Moreover, the pictures of warriors, royal processions, designs, and other decorations are also visible to the general public.
In rock shelters 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 15, you will get to see pictures of dancing men and women, horse riders, horse, flower pots, God-figure which is supposedly Lord Shiva, Hunting scenes, huge boar and others.
Main Ways To Reach Bhimbetka Caves
There are three ways through which you will be able to reach Bhimbetka rock shelters. We have explained each one of the modes of transportation in the following section:
By Road: Even though you can avail of public buses from Hoshangabad from Bhopal to visit Bhimbetka, but the best way to reach this site is by renting a car. The distance between Bhopal and Bhimbetka is around 45 km, so you will be able to reach the caves within one and a half hours. In case you are getting a bus, you will have to walk a long way to reach the caves.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to Bhimbetka caves is the Bhopal railway station. You will find several taxis that will bring you to the caves from Bhopal station quite quickly.
By Air: The nearest airport to Bhimbetka rock shelters is Bhopal airport or Raja Bhoj airport. You will be able to reach there from different major cities in India without any problem.
The Perfect Time To Visit Bhimbetka Rock Shelters
To reach Bhimbetka rock shelters, you will have to walk around 1 to 1.5 km from the main bus stand. That is why traveling that distance in sweltering heat might not be a good option. Moreover, Madhya Pradesh is a pretty hot state. That is why we would suggest avoiding visiting Bhimbetka Rock shelters in the summer between April to June.
Although you can visit the caves in the monsoons, with heavy rainfall, navigating the different parts of the shelters can become difficult in Bhimbetka. That is why the best time to visit the caves is between October to March. As at this time, the climate is quite moderate and pleasant.
Important Information Regarding The Caves
Before planning a trip to Bhimbetka rock caves, you will need to know some crucial information regarding the trip. Some of the main points are given below.
The entry fee of Bhimbetka rock shelters is INR 10 for Indian tourists and INR 100 for foreign tourists. In case you are an Indian, and you are bringing your vehicle, you will have to pay INR 50 and INR 100 for light and heavy automobiles, respectively. But if you are a foreigner and are traveling with your vehicle, you will have to pay INR 200 and INR 400 for light and heavy automobiles.
Bhimbetka rock shelters are open from 6.30 am to 5.30 pm every day of the week for the entire year.
The entire region surrounding the location does not have any restaurant or resting area. That is why you should always carry your water bottle or light snacks during the trip. You will not be able to find food in the region. The nearest eatery is located 5 km away from Bhimbetka.
While exploring the caves, always remember to carry sun caps, sunglasses, and not forget to apply for sunscreen protection.
Although there is a government-run hotel close to Bhimbetka, most people prefer to stay at Bhopal. You will get to know about the top resorts in Bhopal later in this travel guide.
Must-Visit Places Near Bhimbetka Caves
There are some beautiful places to visit in and near Bhimbetka, which every tourist will love. The sites are mentioned in the following part of this blog:
Although we have discussed the rock shelters in the previous section of this blog, we mention this again as it is an essential part of Bhimbetka. If you do not get to see at least some of the caves located over there, your entire trip to Bhimbetka will be wasted. When you see the caves for the first time, you will be pretty overwhelmed knowing their history. It is quite fascinating to know that something which is over 40,000 years old can be so enchanting. Remember to visit the spot like tortoise rock while visiting the caves.
Location: Bhojpur Raisen, Madhya Pradesh 464990.
Bhojpur is one of the most exciting and essential places to visit near Bhimbetka rock shelters. The town is famous for its temple built during the reign of King Bhoja in the 11th century. This temple is not renowned for its beauty, but the exciting stories revolving it. It was abandoned during its construction, and still, now you will be able to see the evidence of the construction procedure. Many historians and archaeologists believe the temple was abandoned due to the occurrence of a natural disaster at that time. As Bhojpur is located only 23 km from Bhimbetka, you will be able to reach within half an hour from the spot.
Location: Indra Nagar, Ward Number 21, Mandideep, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462046.
Hoshangabad is another essential place to see near Bhimbetka caves. This town is located by the bank of river Narmada and is located only 35 km from Bhimbetka. Even though you will need an entire day to explore the different sightseeing spots of Hoshangabad, but you will get to see a lot of various sites like Adamgirh hills, Hushang Shah Fort, Bandarbhan, and others. The city is quite famous as a tourist destination, and many people prefer to stay there during their trip to Bhimbetka.
Location: Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh.
Top Hotels To Stay Near Bhimbetka Rock Shelters
The hotels and resorts we are going to mention in the following section of this travel guide are located near Bhopal. You will be able to reach them from Bhimbetka caves within one and a half hours by availing a rented car quite easily.
Touchwood Resorts is one of the most beautiful resorts in Madhya Pradesh, located in the Mendora village of Bhopal. As the resort is situated away from Bhopal’s hustle and bustle, you will be able to lead a peaceful existence for a few days by staying over there. The establishment has a wide variety of rooms available on its premises. All of them are quite luxurious and are well-equipped. The resort has a restaurant as well as a bar which is quite popular among tourists.
Address: Kerwa Dam, Kerwa Dam Rd, Near, Mendora, Madhya Pradesh 462001.
Website: Not available.
Phone Number: 076111 19903.
Price of a room per night: INR 4000.
Jehan Numa Palace Resort
Jehan Numa Palace resort is one of the best resorts in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. It is located 45 km from Bhimbetka rock shelters and is exceptionally luxurious and fascinating. As the resort is located quite close to Bhopal’s main city center, you will be able to explore the town quite easily. The in-house restaurant of the hotel named La Kuchina is popular among the tourists and the local people of Bhopal. There are other restaurants located in the resort as well, which are quite popular. The resort has an outdoor swimming pool, gym, massage parlor, and other facilities.
Address: 157, Shyamla Hills Rd, Shymala Hills, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462013.
Phone Number: 0755 266 1100.
Price of a room per night: INR 6500.
Wood’s Inn Resort
Wood’s Inn resort is located quite close to Van Vihar national park in Bhopal and is situated around 50 km from Bhimbetka rock shelter caves. The rooms of this property are quite beautiful and luxurious. Apart from gorgeous rooms, the establishment has a lot of different features.
Some of them are outdoor swimming pools, table tennis, barbeques, VIP rooms, an in-house restaurant, and others. The best part about this resort is that it is quite affordable.
Address: New Abbas Ali Nagar Rd, opposite Lake Pearl Spring Colony, Gandhi Nagar, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462001.
Phone Number: 088719 17000.
Price of a room per night: INR 3500.
Bhimbetka caves are the pride of India. You will learn a lot if you visit this site. We hope, by reading this blog, you got all the crucial information regarding Bhimbetka caves.