Monday, December 14, 2009

Bhimbetka Cave Paintings

The caves of Bhimbetaka have paintings that date back to various periods during which these caves could have been inhabited. The main colors used in these paintings are red and white. Red color paintings are bright, while the white paintings look faded. The quality of the paintings is so great that the painting appear so fresh as if it has been done few days back. At lot of places, paintings have been done on top of the other, giving a feeling that the artists have used the same space to paint and re-paint. The style of paintings resembles the Worli paintings and at times the Madhubani. Most of the figures are written using geometrical shapes. Animals form the primary subject of paintings, followed by humans and occasional trees and flowers.

The rock art in these caves has been classified into various groups on the basis of the style and subject. (Click on all the images for bigger picture)

Upper Palaeolithic

The paintings in this period were mostly drawn using green and dark red colors as liner representations. The figures drawn were animals like bisons, boar.


The paintings in this period are comparatively smaller in size. The linear representation of drawings are more stylish. Apart from animals, there are human figures. The hunting scenes clearly show the weapons like barbed spears, pointed sticks, bows and arrows used during those times.

Hunting scene

The depiction of communal dances, birds, mother and child, pregnant women, men carrying dead animal, drinking etc, are seen in this rock shelter range.

people dancing holding hands at the top and they are going for hunting at the bottom


The paintings in this period show that the cave dwellers of this area were in contact with the agricultural communities. They exchanged goods with them.

Early Historic

The paintings in this period are painted mostlty in red and white. The drawings have a schematic and decorative style. They mainly depict riders, religious symbols, tunic-like dresses, and the scripts of different periods.


The paintings in this period are geometric, linear and more schematic. The artistic style was crude when compared to earlier periods.

The picture below is taken at the first cave that you see as soon as one enters the cave complex. There are paintings of animals drawn in white color on the roof of the cave.

This place can be reached directly from Bhopal or from Bhojpur as I had done.

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