"Journey to the Past: Exploring the Prehistoric Wonders of Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Bhopal"
By Eve Kay
It was probably during an archaeology class that I first came across Bhimbetka, a site of the Palaoelithic and Mesolithic Age that is situated around 45 kilometres from the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal. Years ago, listening to a lecture on the prehistoric tools, the rock shelters and rock paintings of the bygone era, and subsequently answering questions and writing essays on this archaeological marvel in the heart of India.
It was then that I decided that one day I would visit and see for myself the magnificent rock shelters of Bhimbetka. Declared as a world Heritage site by the UNESCO, this archaeological site is about 2 hours away from Bhopal and can be reached by a bus or a car. We took a local bus from the bus station at Bhopal and headed out to this prehistoric wonder. We got down from the bus at the junction that leads to this site. Right at the junction are a couple of food joints.
We had lunch there and then started walking towards the rock shelters. It takes about 45 minutes to hike up to the site from the junction and the road is moderately steep. Once there, right at the entrance you will find a plague describing the place. A few metres from the entrance, and you walk right back into time.
The huge boulders, rather oddly shaped will amaze you. Each rock shelter is numbered from 1 to 15 and an elaborate path has been made for easy access to the rocks. Apparently, some of these rock paintings are more than 30,000 years old. As we walked by the path, I was left gazing at each shelter, taken back to the prehistoric times wondering what went through their minds as they drew those shapes on the rock walls. The ingenuity and the wisdom with which they marked their presence for eternity perhaps.