Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh is famous for its hundreds of ancient caves. These Bhimbetka caves are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, since 2003. There are about 760 caves spread across 10 km of which almost 500 caves show various types of rock paintings that date back 30,000 years. The Bhimbetka rock shelters showcase various stages of human evolution as evident from these paintings.
Bhimbetka rock shelters are one of the significant places to visit in Madhya Pradesh. These caves are located on the Vindhya Ranges, on its sandstone outcrops, over the thick forest. They exist as a group of caves in five clusters. The villages nearby and the people residing there hold a close resemblance to those depicted in the cave paintings, which shows the culture and traditions over the millennium.
History of Bhimbetka
According to the legends, the name Bhimbetka was derived from the word ‘Bhimbaithka’ which means the sitting place of Bhim, referring to the one from Mahabharata. The names of the villages around support this reference to Mahabharata. Some villages are named Pandapur, Bhiyapura, a likely modification of Bhimpura, and Lakh Juhar forest which used to house the Lakh palace or wax palace that Pandavas used.
The Bhimbetka cave shelters used to be homes to ancient humans, who later used the walls to draw paintings that represent the lives of humans of each period. The paintings show humans in various sizes from humungous to the latest sizes. These ancient cave paintings are the oldest in India and they have striking resemblances to those discovered in other parts of the world as well.
How to reach Bhimbetka?
The nearest town or city to Bhimbetka caves is Bhopal. You may arrive in Bhopal via bus, train, or flight and then take a cab to reach the caves. Even though the Bhimbetka bus stand is just 3 km away from the caves, a cab or taxi will be the best option to reach here. Bhimbetka Caves is located on the way from Bhopal to Hoshangabad, connected by NH 12. In addition to this, you can also book the bus ticket to redBus to enjoy the hassle free journey.
Best Time to Visit Bhimbetka
The best time to visit Bhimbetka is winter from October to March. The climate will be comfortable during this time.
Once you arrive at the Bhimbetka Cave shelters, there are several places to visit. As mentioned these caves exist in clusters so you can go cave hopping. Here are the main points that you must visit.
- Bhimbetka Rock Shelters & Cave Paintings start from Cave 1 which shows various layers of the earth which go up to 4 m. The exhibits here include the palaeolithic and Acheulean stone tools, pottery, microliths, etc.
- Auditorium Cave or Cave 3 is like a gallery or cathedral with soaring high spaces and arches. This is the largest cave of all and is known as the ‘King’s Rock’ or ‘Chief’s Rock’.
- Turtle Rock is a rock that looks like a turtle and is located on a rocky mountain within the wildlife sanctuary where the Bhimbetka cave shelters are located. Climbing on the rock will give you wonderful views of the sanctuary and the valley.
- Zoo Rock Shelter is Cave 4 that has paintings of 452 figures, the majority being animals of various species. These paintings were estimated to be made of lime in 10,000 BC and some others in 3000 – 5000 BC in various vegetable colours.
Other things to do around Bhimbetka
- Bhimbetka Kuldevi Temple is believed to have been built by the Pandavas for their Kuldevi Vaishno Devi.
- Bhojpur temple, 35 km away from Bhimbetka, with a height of 7.5 ft or 2.5 m, was built by King Bhoja in the 11th century.
- Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary, 8 km from Bhimbetka cave shelters, is a tiger reserve that shelters various animals and birds.
- Sanchi which is 98 km from Bhimbetka, has the Buddhist Monuments, the second UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Madhya Pradesh.
The caves of Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh were discovered in 1957 and it is now a popular tourist place for the state. You can find accommodation close to the city and will also find eateries but none close to the cave shelters. Other than this minor drawback, one must not miss this place while visiting Madhya Pradesh.
In Conclusion, Booking your bus ticket to Bhimbetka is just a click away. The convenience of online platforms like redBus allows you to plan your journey with ease. Whether you’re traveling from Bhopal or any nearby city, redBus provides a hassle-free way to secure your seat on a comfortable bus.
Don’t miss the chance to witness the wonders of Bhimbetka – book your bus ticket on redBus now. Experience the beauty of ancient artistry, explore the archaeological wonders, and create memories that resonate with the echoes of history. Bhimbetka awaits your discovery – embark on this enriching journey and let the stories of the rock shelters unfold before your eyes!