Bhimbetka: An Accidental Find – Outlook India

Bhimbetka Caves, also known as the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, is an archaeological site located in the Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh. The rocks are believed to have been a witness to the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods. Spanning across 10 km, there are close to 750 rock shelters and seven hills in the area. These caves have now been declared a UNESCO world heritage site, owing to their historical significance.

An Accidental Discovery

In 1957, archaeologist Dr. Vishnu Wakankar noticed these structures from the train window on his way to Nagpur. They were similar to the rocks that he had previously studied in France and Spain. He went to the area with his team of archaeologists and discovered these shelters which dated back to the pre-historic times. This was in 1957.
Several studies later on showed that these caves dated back to the Stone Age and served as some of the first human settlements during that time.

Historical Significance

A group of warriors depicted in one of the cave paintings

The Bhimbetka rock shelters are a canvas for some of the oldest paintings in India. Most of these are done in red and white on the cave walls. A multitude of themes were covered in this form of rock art and it depicted scenes like singing, dancing, hunting and other common activities of the people staying there. This also adds strength to the argument that the caves used to be home for hundreds of people sometime during 300 BC. The oldest of the