Welcome to the Stone Age version of the Louvre.
Walking through Bhimbetka Rock Shelters is like walking in a Stone Age version of the Louvre. It is the largest repository of prehistoric art in India, and also the only which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Out of an estimated 750 rock shelters, over 400 are adorned with paintings, and 15 of the best have been made accessible to tourists via walkways and signposting.
Although most of the art is between six to nine thousand years old, archaeological researchers think that the site was in use as early as 100,000 BC, well before the art of painting evolved. The most current artwork seen here dates to 400 years ago and is comparatively modern, showing kings on horseback, and sword- and shield-wielding soldiers. From that time the caves were forgotten, until everything was rediscovered by Indian archaeologists in 1957. The first archaeological dig was only in 1971.
The artwork here tells stories and provides a window into the lives of prehistoric men: there’s hunting, dancing, royal processions, the drawings are spellbinding and thought-provoking in equal measure.