Sunday, 23 February 2014

Bhimbetka, prehistoric rock shelters

After marveled by Sanchi, we headed for another UNESCO world heritage site, Bhimbetka. Bhimbetka lies about 45 kms south east of Bhopal. The place is an UNESCO World heritage site and is famous for its pre-historic rock shelters and rock paintings.

Cave structure
 We entered the premises after paying an entry fee of Rs 25 per person. Cameras are not charged. From the entry gate, the rock shelters are about 1 km inside.

 Once inside we were simply amazed. There is a continuous sequence of Stone Age cultures from the late Acheulian to the late Mesolithic period and also some of the world's oldest stone walls and floors. There are 15 rock shelters that are open to public to see; the remaining are all scattered. It compelled us to wonder that it was the same place where our fore fathers had made the amazing cave paintings some thousands of years back, while they were still cave dwellers.

Cave Painting

Cave painting

War scene

Hunting scene

 Most of the walls have paintings on them. At least some of the shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus(mind it, not sapiens) more than 300,000 years ago. Some of the paintings are more than 30,000 years old and depict animals, people, hunting scenes. There is one popular rock shelter called "zoo rock" which has drawings of elephants, deer, bison and sambar. Some of the relatively recent paintings depict battle scenes.

 The place gets the name Bhimbetka because in the Mahabharatas, which is one of the holy epics of the Hindus, it is written that Bhima or Bhim (one of the Pandava brothers known for his great strength and massively strong build) used the rocks as his sitting place.

 we just had an hour for this wonderful place. And we did not know that the place spreads over a large area; otherwise, we would have reserved more time for it. We would advise that you keep aside at least 2.5 hours for visiting this place. This place is huge and interesting. It is good if you can see the place at noon.

 There is also a temple very close by, but sadly because of our time constraint we could not visit it.

Cave Map


Group of People

Different paintings

Bhimbetka from outside

Cave System

Taking photograph of Cave shelter
bhimbetka, cave drawing, bhopal, travel, blog

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sanchi, in search of the Stupas

Our tour started with Bhopal. We had to keep only a single day for Bhopal as our travel plan was more biased towards Gujarat. As a result we had to be very specific regarding the sight-seeing. However I had already decided
that we will do complete justice to Madhya Pradesh once we plan our workshops there.

So our itinerary had just two, but world famous places 

  • Sanchi Stupa 
  • Bhimbetka

Sanchi Stupa I

 A cab was arranged for us by the hotel. It was an Tata Indigo. The cab driver greeted us sharp at 6 AM in the morning. We had already informed the hotel manager that we wanted the cab at 6 AM since we had to start early.

 Yogesh is a very good and amiable driver; in case you want to visit Bhopal you may contact him directly. I will provide his contact towards the end of this post.

 So we started at around 6:10 AM. It was still cold and foggy but thankfully there was very less traffic. Sanchi, which is roughly 40 km from Bhopal, took us around 30 minutes to reach. Once we reached there, we thought of first stuffing our stomachs with breakfast and then proceeding towards the stupa. It would help us in two ways; firstly a stuffed stomach means no hunger pangs, so we can loiter around peacefully and secondly the fog would also get cleared.

Sanchi Stupa I

  Yogesh took us to a roadside shop that was selling poha, tea and jalebis. The other shops had just opened, and their food was not yet ready. We took poha and tea. The food was cheap, and honestly, we have never tasted such great tasting poha before. A strict recommendation to have street food in Sanchi.

  We entered the Sanchi stupa complex. Visiting hours start from 6:30 AM and the entry ticket is Rs 10 per person. There are three stupas, Stupa I,II and III. The foundation of Stupa I, also called the Great Stupa, was laid by Emperor Ashoka.

Sanchi Stupa I

Sanchi Stupa III

For more historical details you can see the link here

  The Stupas are huge hemispherical structures and are absolutely stunning. I stood staring at them for some time. It seemed as if the cover picture of my IIX standard history book has come to life. Both of us happily clicked a lot of images. Since it was India's republic day we also witnessed the tri-colour hoisting near Stupa I. My heart was filled with pride.

Flag Hoisting near Stupa I

Temple Complex Near Stupa I

  There is also a museum near to the Stupa where the actual Ashok Stumbha is kept. You do not need to buy any ticket. You just need to show the original gate ticket to enter. The museum also has lots of sculptures dating from 2nd Century BC to 12th Century AD. Photography is not allowed inside the museum.

Dew Drops and Stupa III

Composing the perfect frame

Temple complex near Stupa I

Excavated site map at Sanchi

  We took almost an hour and half for Sanchi stupas after which we headed for Bhimbhetka.

Now the vital stats:

We stayed at : Hotel Kamal Regency (opposite platform no 1,Main Railway Station,Bhopal)
               Ph : 0755-4042400/1/2/3
               Phone booking is available
               The hotel has location advantage but does not provide absolute value for money
               The veg biriyani that their restaurant provides is fabulous.

Our Driver    : Yogesh ,Ph : 09893133429
                    very good driver

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