Bhopal has a number of important tourist sites including lakes, monuments, national parks and caves. We were told at the travel desk that Bhimbetka Caves are one of the important places to visit here. It is located at a distance of 46 km from the city and we took a cab from the hotel to reach the place. The name of the cave is associated with Bhima, one of the five Pandavas in the epic Mahabharata. It is believed that he rested here with his brothers after they were exiled from their kingdom. Bhimbetka means the Lounge of Bhima. It is a place that is visited by large number of historians and tourists from all over India and other parts of the world.
The caves are located in a small town called Raisen, in the Vindhyachal Mountains. It was open for public viewing from 6.30 am to 5.30 pm on all days of the week and the entry fee is Rs.10 per person. We reached the place within one and a half hour and saw that it was a fascinating place revealing the prehistoric period. The caves were found by the famous archaeologist Dr. V. S. Wakankar in 1958. There were more than 600 caves, but only 12 are open to the public. They are included in the 24 UNESCO World Heritage Site in India.
The area around the caves is covered with thick vegetation and small rivers. These caves served as shelters for the people in the early periods and there are many paintings in the caves that range from Paleolithic era to medieval era. They reveal to you the evolution of man from the prehistoric era to the medieval era. The paintings of each era are so different that you can easily recognize them and tell to which era it belonged.
The paintings of Palaeolithic era are large and linear figures of animals like bear, rhinoceros, and tigers and so on. As the time passed, the paintings became more defined and smaller in size and showed people hunting and dancing and doing other activities. Slowly these paintings were replaced by religious images. We were told that the oldest paintings were 12,000 years old and the recent ones were about 1,000 years old. We had a great time in the caves viewing all the paintings.