Guide to Bhimbetka Rock Shelters

Archaeologist, photographer and explorer, Kevin Standage unearths hidden gems from India. Stunning visuals and indepth knowledge is what you will get on his blog. Do read his invaluable findings as he once again journeys through India

Kevin Standage

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Bhimbetka, 45km south-east of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, is the best known rock art region in the Indian subcontinent. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003, the area extends over 1,892 hectares covering five hills within the Vindhyan Range; Vinayka, Bhonrawali, Bhimbetka, Lakhajuar east and Lakhajuar west.

For the visitor, only Bhimbetka hill is easily accessible, with 15 painted shelters open daily for the public to explore. Whilst often referred to as Bhimbetka Caves, these are in fact natural sandstone formations, the passage of time and exposure to the elements has led to the various shaped rock shelters with their unique natural architecture.

Amazingly, the Bhimbetka rock art site did not attract scientific attention much before 1957. The story goes that Dr Vishnu Shridhar Wakankar noticed these peculiar sandstone rock formations whilst traveling along the hills by train, and had a hunch that they might be interesting to explore…hence he discovered Bhimbetka…

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