Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 91, Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, Indian UNESCO site

Sanjay and Bash have invited us to return to Madhya Pradesh to see the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters ((

Yippee!! Another UNESCO world heritage site!

The name Bhimbetka is associated with the historical figure, Bhima, (a hero-deity renowned for his immense strength) from the Hindu epic Mahabharat.

As we drive there, we notice that the entire area is covered by thick vegetation, and has abundant natural resources in its perennial water supplies, natural shelters, rich forest flora and fauna.

Sanjay told us that he had been to an exhibit at the museum in Bhopal , and that he learnt that the Bhimbetka shelters exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India!

At least some of these shelters were inhabited by man for in excess of 100,000 years!! WOW!

The rock shelters are easy to find; 15 are accessible, signposted with a number (S1 to S15) and linked by a concrete path.

We have seen hunting scenes with hunters carrying bows, arrows, swords and shields....obviously hunter gatherers....

Thanks to their natural red and white pigments, the colours are remarkably well- preserved and, in certain caves, paintings of different eras adorn the same rock surface.

It is truly a marvel that the paintings have not faded even after thousands of years.

It is believed that these paints were made of colored earth, vegetable dyes, roots and animal fat and brushes were made of pieces of fibrous plants.

Oh, there is the The "Zoo Rock" shelter
It depicts elephants, sambar, bison and deer.

A gamut of figures and scenes spill across the rocks: wild buffaloes (gaurs), rhinoceroses, bears and tigers, hunting scenes, initiation ceremonies, childbirth, communal dancing and drinking sessions, religious rites and burials.

The latest are crude, geometric figures probably dating from the medieval period, when much of the artistry was lost.

You know what guys....these may very well be the world's oldest stone walls and floors!!

The caves have evolved over time into excellent rock-shelters, ideal sites for aboriginal settlements.

The smooth shape of the rocks has led some scientists to believe that the area was once under water.

The rocks have taken on incredible shapes in several stunning hues and textures.

Apart from the central place the aboriginal drawings have in human history, the caves themselves offer interesting material for a study of the earth's history.

Hmm, these sure do resemble the cave paintings of the Bushmen back home in South Africa!!


Master said...

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UNESCO WHS Postcards Project

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Best Regards
Yours Cheema

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