Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bhimbetka Caves

Bhimbetka Caves Location : 
The Bhimbetka Caves are located about 45 km from Bhopal, in the state of Madhya Pradesh. They are beautifully surrounded by the forests of Sal and Teak. The caves of Bhimbetka have gained popularity in the very span of time. There are 838 caves, which are spread in the total area of 1850 hectares. Out of these 15 of the most exotic caves have been opened for the tourists. Bhimbetka caves are oldest one among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

History : 
The name Bhimbetka caves is on the name of Bhima, the hero of great Hindu epic called Mahabharata. The name Bhim-bet-ka means Bhim sat down. These caves were found by the famous Indian archaeologist, Dr. V.S. Wakankar of the Vikram University, Ujjain, in the year 1958. It took more the 17 years to fully excavate these caves. 

Architectural significance : 
Bhimbetka is a huge archaeological treasure, that boosts of ancient paintings. More than 600 rock shelters, belonging to the Neolithic age were recently discovered in the rocky terrain of the Vindhyan range. The paintings of the caves shows that the same canvas were used by the different people at different times. And on that basis these paintings can be classified into seven major periods. Period I Upper Paleolithic, Period II Mesolithic, Period III Chaleolithic, Period IV and V Early historic, Period VI and VII Medieval. The caves are mainly executed in red and white with the little bite use of green and yellow. The themes used in these caves include the scenes from the everyday life, depicting household scenes, haunting, dancing, animal fighting, elephant riders, honey collections, body tattooing, music. In some of the caves you may also find images of some of the animals such as bison's, tigers, wild boar, lions, crocodiles, lizards, dogs and antelope. According to the sources and as the paintings depict, these caves must have been used as shelter by the large number of people in the pre historic times around 300 BC. The oldest painting in the Bhimbetka cave is more than 12,000 years old. 

Religious Importance : 
The local inhabitants around the Bhimbetka caves have the deep religious thoughts attached to it. They relate these caves with the Mahabharata hero Bhim, who used to sit over the mountains and talk with the people. They also speak of one interesting incident associated with these caves. According to them one day when Bhim was sleeping deeply, at that time his brother Arjuna threw arrows to bring out the holy Ganges out of it. Local people also call these caves as Dant or Toli. They compare these caves with the Demons teeth and believe that all the paintings in these caves have been drawn by the demons.

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