Bhimbetka - The Unusual Rock Shelters


Blog :: Heritage

bhimbetka rock shelters

Madhya Pradesh has a rich history which dates back to the pre-historic era. In the lap of lush green forest covers, at the southern edge of the Vindhya Hills, there lies a shelter of close to 500 pre-historic rock caves called the Bhimbetka Rock Shelter. Discovered in 1957, these paintings were mainly created by ancient man, as a means to communicate with each other and have served as a record of their lives for generations to come.

The name 'Bhimbetka' is derived from the historic tale of Mahabharata. Legends have it that Bhim, one of the Pandavas sat ('baitha' in Hindi) in this place during their exile, and thus, the place got its name 'Bhimbetka', the sitting place of Bhim.


An excavation by Dr. Vishnu Wakankar in 1957-58 brought him to this historic masterpiece. In an accidental trip to the sanctuary of Ratapani, he came across these caves, and hence, Bhimbetka was discovered. Dr. Wakankar compared these caves to those he saw in Spain and France.


These caves are an invaluable chronicle of history. Made in different periods of history, some paintings are around 30,000 years old. The paintings are an insight into the first traces of pre-historic mankind like lifestyle, festivals, hunting and agriculture. Out of the many, however only 12 caves are open for public viewing, and have been a topic of interest for several archaeologists since its discovery.


Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003, it is home to more than 500 caves and rock shelters, all of them adorned with paintings.


The use of natural colors has ensured that the paintings have endured better over time. 


Once in Bhimbetka, the rich verdant and scenic beauty around the area will leave you spellbound.