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Bhimbetka rock shelters

The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka is aprox 55 kilometres from Ratapani Range Retreat. This UNESCO site houses cave paintings made by Neanderthal man, with some almost 7,000 years old.

The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site in central India that spans the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, as well as the historic period. It exhibits the earliest traces of human life in India and evidence of the Stone Age starting at the site in Acheulian times. It is located in the Raisen District in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of Bhopal. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that consists of seven hills and over 750 rock shelters distributed over 10 km (6.2 mi). At least some of the shelters were inhabited more than 100,000 years ago. The rock shelters and caves provide evidence of, according to Encyclopædia Britannica, a “rare glimpse” into human settlement and cultural evolution from hunter-gatherers, to agriculture, and expressions of prehistoric spirituality.
Some of the Bhimbetka rock shelters feature prehistoric cave paintings and the earliest are about 10,000 years old (c. 8,000 BCE), corresponding to the Indian Mesolithic. These cave paintings show themes such as animals, early evidence of dance and hunting. The Bhimbetka site has the oldest-known rock art in India, as well as is one of the largest prehistoric complexes.
Bhimbetka rock art is considered the oldest petroglyphs in the world, some of these similar to aboriginal rock art in Australia and the palaeolithic Lascaux cave paintings in France. Of the 750 rock shelters, only 12 to 15 are open to visitors.
550 million years old Dickinsonia fossils of an extinct genus of basal animals have been found at Bhimbetka.

The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka is 45 kilometres southeast of Bhopal and 9 km from Obedullaganj city in the Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh at the southern edge of the Vindhya Range. South of these rock shelters is successive ranges of the Satpura hills. It is inside the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary, embedded in sandstone rocks, in the foothills of the Vindhya Range. The site consists of seven hills: Vinayaka, Bhonrawali, Bhimbetka, Lakha Juar (east and west), Jhondra and Muni Babaki Pahari.

Bhimbetka meaning “Bhima’s resting place” or “Bhima’s lounge”, is a compound word made of Bhima (second brother among the five Pandavas of Mahabharata) and Baithaka (seat or lounge). According to the native belief, Bhima during his exile used to rest here to interact with the locals.