What is Bhimbetka famous for? Bhimbetka Rock Shelters Historical place 2022

Bhimbetka Rock Shelters Historical place in Amchha Khurd, Madhya Pradesh

The sudden Discovery of the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters. Bhimbetka, one of the prehistoric sites of India, is located on the southern edge of the Vindhya range in the Raisen district, 45 km southeast of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh. This archaeological site is spread over seven hills and an area of ​​20 sq km and consists of more than 750 rock shelters. To the south of these rock shelters is the successive range of the Satpura Hills.

In 1957, the famous archaeologist Professor Dr. Wakankar discovered this place. In 1990, the site was preserved under the Department of Anthropological Survey of India. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003. Cave paintings dating from the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods to the recent period are found here. The oldest cave paintings in some rock shelters are about 10,000 years old (about 8,000 BC), belonging to the Indian Mesolithic. These cave paintings contain images of animals, dance and hunting from the Stone Age, and warriors on horseback from a later period (probably the Bronze Age).

Originally an archaeological site, it is now also of great geological importance. A group of local and foreign geologists visited the Satpura region in a pre-conference field traverse of the 36th International Geological Conference in 2020. They found a fossil on the roof of Bhimbetka’s auditorium cave. Thousands of tourists have visited this cave before, perhaps even many geologists. But no one had noticed this fossil before on the hanging sooty roof wall. The name of this fossil is Dickinsonia.

The Dickinsonia fossils were hidden in negative relief in the form of small incised lines and holes in the ceiling of the auditorium 3.5 meters high. This part of the cave is accessible but the fossils are out of reach. These fossils lie directly above Early to Middle Paleolithic excavations. These fossils have been photographed using many modern photography techniques.

Dickinsonia is an extinct genus of prehistoric fauna that lived in what is now Australia, China, India, Russia, and Ukraine during the late Ediacaran period (54 to 63 million years ago). Dickinsonia was usually bilaterally symmetrical ribbed oval shaped. Their relationship with any other animals is still unknown; Although some believe that it belongs to the class of fungi or even an “extinct fauna”. The discovery of cholesterol molecules in Dickinsonia fossils supports the idea that Dickinsonia was an animal. Dickinsonia fossils are found only in the form of impressions and casts on sandstone.

The Bhimbetka fossil is the first discovery of an ancient fossil Dickinsonia in India and is similar to Dickinsonia tenuis and Dickinsonia costata from the Ediacara Group of the Ediacara Hills in South Australia. The Dickinsonia fossils of India occur in the Maihar Sandstone of the Bhandar Group of the Vindhyan Supergroup. Based on the presence of Arumbaria and other mega fossils, the age of the Maihar Sandstone is probably considered to be Ediacaran. Dickinsonian palaeobiogeography supports the conclusion that Gondwanaland formed about 550 million years ago.

Bhimbetka Rock Shelters1
Recently a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for exchange of knowledge in mutual cooperation in research in various fields of science and technology. The combined elements of this research will include the analysis of archaeological sites, geological and archaeological materials, the effects of human activities on the landscape, and past environmental conditions, collectively known as geoarchaeology.
Bhimbetka is now not only an archaeological site but also a geoheritage site.

How to reach and where to stay near Bhimbetka  Rock Shelters:

Nearest railway station and airport is Bhopal – 46km away.

Best time to visit Bhimbetka  Rock Shelters: From July to March.

Bhimbetka  Rock Shelters Timings: 7:00am to 6:00 pm

Bhimbetka  Rock Shelters ticket price: ₹ 25 for Indians; ₹ 500 for foreigners.

Bhimbetka  Rock Shelters Entry fee for vehicle: ₹ 100 (for two-wheelers); ₹ 300 (for cars)

Stay: Bhopal has several hotels catering to different budgets. Check out Jehan Numa Palace Hotel or Courtyard by Marriott Bhopal

How much time is needed in Bhimbetka?

You will need 2 hours to cover 15 caves. Well connected from Bhopal.

Is Bhimbetka worth visiting?
The huge rock shelter of Bhimbetka is often hailed as a major site full of archaeological treasures and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Madhya Pradesh. This fact gives every tourist a good reason to visit this place.
If you are staying in Bhopal, check out from your hotel and visit Bhojpur Temple early in the morning. After visiting the temple you can have breakfast on Highway Treat (it will go from Bhojpur to Bhimbetka) and then proceed to Bhimbetka. It will take about 1-2 hours to visit the cave and rock shelter.
How many paintings are in Bhimbetka rock shelter?
The Bhimbetka area has a large number of carvings in the sandstone. On the hilltop of the Bhimbetka site alone, where extensive archaeological research has been carried out since 1971, 243 shelters have been explored, of which 133 contain stone carvings.

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1. Retallack, G. J., Mathews, N. A., Master, S., Khangar, R. G. and Khan, M. 2021. Dickinsonia discovered in India and Late Ediacaran biogeography. Gondwana Research, 90: 165-170.
2. GSI portal.


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