When the rest of the world was living in caves covering themselves in leaves, there existed a nation which was advanced beyond one’s imagination. When we go in search of the first sign of human existence, few claim that fully grown-up smart humans evolved just few thousands of years.
But when we come across a series of rock shelters located in Madhya Pradesh, which is known as Bhimbetka rock shelters, one could be nothing more than simply baffled. The reason is quite clear, these structures are dated back to the prehistoric Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, as well as the historic period.
At the very first glance, one might say the paintings on the cave walls were drawn by the stone age people, but after examining each and every sketch we will be stunned to know the meanings they depict. There are over 750 rock shelters in the seven hills spread across 10 kilometers of the Raisen District, Madhya Pradesh.
Trust me, each of the 750+ rock shelter caves are of different shapes, contain different paintings that have their own story to narrate. Few walls show animals like tigers, leopards, boars, elephants, horses, jackals, foxes. Whereas few other paintings tell the story of hunting where a group of men are riding on horses with sticks in their hands.
From 5000 BC to 1,00,000 years back, paintings of various ages are evident on the walls of the caves. These rock shelters are closely linked to Mahabharata. It is believed that Bhima- one among the Pancha Pandavas- along with his family took shelters in these caves during the time of exile. Due to Bhima’s association to this place, it got the name Bhimbetka rock shelters.
At one juncture, it won’t be an exaggeration even if one says that the paintings on the wall is a work of aliens. There is a reason to make this claim as few of the paintings show mysterious flying objects. Around 300-400 years ago, the Western nations strongly believed that earth was flat in shape.
So obviously one can’t expect these Western nations to even imagine that there existed life beyond earth. But these walls, silently, argued that there existed equipment that could fly on its own like birds. So by this, one thing is clear that these paintings are definitely not the work of humans who lived in caves-almost naked.
Though this location is full of mysteries, this is a very popular destination for tourists across the world. The site even hasn’t failed to garner the attention of organisations-both nationally and internationally. In 1990, the 1892 hectares where the rock shelters were located were declared as protected under Indian laws and came under the management of the Archaeological Survey of India. In 2003 the caves were declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Bhimbetka reflects a long interaction between people and the landscape, as demonstrated in the quantity and quality of its rock art. Bhimbetka is closely associated with a hunting and gathering economy as demonstrated in the rock art and in the relics of this tradition in the local Adivasi villages on the periphery of this site. Due to these reasons, the mysterious caves made it to the UNESCO heritage site.
The cultural traditions of the inhabitants of the twenty-one villages adjacent to the site bear a strong resemblance to those represented in the rock paintings states the official website of UNESCO.
Few painting in these caves are as long as 1,00,000 years old. These series of caves are a mystery in themselves because looking at the mammoth caves, one could easily say that these are not naturally made but created by humans.
After a detailed investigation based on the evidence, the Archaeological Survey of India concluded that there has been a continuous human settlement here from the Stone Age through the late Acheulian to the late Mesolithic until the 2nd-century BCE.