Off the beaten track: Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh

Get a glimpse of prehistoric caves and the earliest paintings

For the science enthusiasts and people who are fascinated by the history of human civilization, travelling to a place which still has the remnants of the work done by the earliest human beings is like a dream come true.

Whether it is the Pyramids of Egypt or Stonhenge in England, all these places have left the modern humans awestruck. One such UNESCO world heritage site is in India, just a few kilometers away from the capital of Madhya Pradesh.

Bhimbetka caves, lying in the foothills of Vindhya mountains along the Bhopal-Hoshangabad Highway, are a major tourist attraction for leisure travellers and history aficionados.


Why Visit Bhimbetka

The caves were discovered by accident in 1957 when archaeologist Dr Vishnu Wakankar of Vikram University strayed from his path and found hints of a prehistoric culture remains. Thus, followed excavations and the unearthing of the breathtaking treasure that lay buried there.

The biggest attraction that Bhimbekta offers is the cave paintings which date back to approximately 15,000 years and not just that, there are paintings from different ages which are a proof of the fact that humans resided in the caves for a long period of time.

The paintings have vivid depiction of animals like rhino, monkey, elephant, etc and also of the everyday rituals from the lives of prehistoric human beings. The paintings have been classified under seven different periods by the experts.

Bhimbekta also has a mythological connection as it derives its name from Bhima, one of the Pandavas, the central characters in Mahabharata. It is believed that after being banished from their kingdom, the Pandavas came and stayed in these caves.


How to reach there?

The place is a world heritage site and is connected with the rest of the country by a well maintained road network. If you wish to visit Bhimbetka, the best option is to reach Bhopal via a train or flight and from there take a bus, auto or taxi to reach the place.

It is located at a distance of only 48 kilometers from Bhopal airport. Also, if you are planning to stay and explore nearby places, it would be a good option to find a hotel or guest house in Bhopal.


Other Places of Interest

It is also a good option because you can explore the culture of Madhya Pradesh, try the local cuisine and explore the bazaars. Do not miss Bhutte ki Khees, Bhopali Gosht Korma and Palak Puri. Bhopal is also well-connected to other nearby attractions.

If you are a first time traveller, then take out some time and visit the Shiva temple at Bhojpur village, approximately 70 kilometers from Bhopal. The temple houses a 7.5 feet Shiva Lingam and is believed to have been built by 11th century king Bhoja.

The construction work was abandoned in between and you can see the material at the site along with architectural plan for the temple. Close to the temple is a museum which showcases its history and also the literary works of the king.

And the best way to end your trip will be to visit the peaceful town of Sanchi which is again at a distance of only 46 kilometers from the capital. As everyone probably knows, the town has a grand Buddhist Stupa which was commissioned by King Ashoka.

The Sanchi Stupa is also the oldest surviving stone structure of the country. It is a great site to explore the Buddhist culture and archaeology of the Ashokan period. Sanchi is also a central Buddhist pilgrimage site of Madhya Pradesh.

So, if you are planning a trip on a weekend, this might be an option to consider for sure. A trip to witness the prehistoric culture, the peace at Sanchi and mysteries of half constructed temple at Bhojpur, this is surely a great package!

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