Bhimbetka rock shelters, Bhopal
About Bhimbetka rock shelters
W. Kincaid, a British India era official, first mentioned Bhimbetka in a scholarly paper in 1888. He relied on the information he gathered from local adivasis (tribals) about Bhojpur lake in the area and referred to Bhimbetka as a Buddhist site. The first archaeologist to visit a few caves at the site and discover its prehistoric significance was V. S. Wakankar, who saw these rock formations and thought these were similar to those he had seen in Spain and France. He visited the area with a team of archaeologists and reported several prehistoric rock shelters in 1957.It was only in the 1970s that the scale and true significance of the Bhimbetka rock shelters was discovered and reported. Since then, more than 750 rock shelters have been identified. The Bhimbetka group contains 243 of these, while the Lakha Juar group nearby has 178 shelters. According to Archaeological Survey of India, the evidence suggests 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 in these caves. This is based on excavations at the site, the discovered artifacts and wares, pigments in deposits, as well as the rock paintings.The site contains the world’s oldest stone walls and floors.Barkheda has been identified as the source of the raw materials used in some of the monoliths discovered at Bhimbetka.The site consisting of 1,892 hectares was declared as protected under Indian laws and came under the management of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1990. It was declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2003.