Bhimbetka cave paintings in India

The cave paintings of Bhimbetka are not the best known place in India. But, curiously, they represent the oldest remains of the presence of the human being in that gigantic Asian country. It is a large archaeological site made up of several caves and shelters where the man of the Stone Age bequeathed us his art painted on the rock.

Where are the Bhimbetka cave paintings?

The first thing we need to know about the Bhimbetka cave paintings is their location. As well, we can visit them in the state of Madhya Pradesh, a large tropical state in the heart of India. It is one of the territories where the exuberance of the vegetation makes it a place full of magical corners.

Specific, the Bhimbetka cave paintings are located about 45 kilometers from the city of Bhopal. They are in an area of ​​hills and sandstone rock with dense forests. All looking much the same as it would have several millennia ago, when prehistoric men settled down and lived as hunters and gatherers.

A large archaeological site

In total, the set of shelters that house the cave paintings of Bhimbetka extends over a vast territory of almost 2,000 hectares. This is a set where the most remote history and the wildest nature go hand in hand.

In fact, it is a magnificent example to see how the human race has been able to interact for millennia with the landscape where it inhabited, living from it, but without fleecing or attacking it. That is one of the reasons why This entire archaeological zone is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

What do the paintings tell us?

In reality, what has been captured in the cave paintings of Bhimbetka has become a kind of illustrated book of how man used to live in this territory in the past. There are a great sampler of all kinds of prehistoric activities.

In this place there are from religious scenes to others in which we see celebrations with people dancing and even births. There are also images that show us how they buried their dead.

A curiosity is that some paintings give an idea of ​​what they ate and drank. That is, thanks to these cave paintings we know the prehistoric diet in this area. A diet in which the animals that lived here and that we see in the paintings were very important: elephants, tigers, bison or peacocks.

The discovery of the Bhimbetka cave paintings

This gem was a discovery by a local archaeologist in the middle of the 20th century. Therefore, much remains to be analyzed. But the terrain is rough and the work is slow, especially when carrying out archaeological excavations that provide more materials than the paintings. However, the wealth of cave paintings is already enormous.

Curiously, they have many stylistic resemblances with other jewels scattered around the world, even if it is in places as distant as the paintings found in the Kalahari desert or in the Kakadu National Park, in Australia. Scholars have even found similarities with the wonderful prehistoric paintings in the Lascaux cave in France.

The story of humanity

On the other hand, the researchers also appreciate that in the cave paintings of Bhimbetka the images are superimposed. There are shelters where, along with the oldest Paleolithic paintings, from more than 11,000 years ago, you can see others from later periods. In some cases, they are even from more recent times, such as the Middle Ages.

Thus, this place also helps us to see the slow evolution of man in the area. Yet another reason why the Bhimbetka cave paintings deserve to be much better known. After all, it is one of the most important jewels of the historical heritage of India.

It is true that there are countless treasures in the country and as valuable as the Taj Mahal or the Palace of the Winds in Jaipur. However, places like this site show us that the Indian giant will always have great secrets to discover.

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