Bheem Baithka

Forty km from Bhopal, this village has recently aroused great interest because of archaeological finds. Here, along the northern fringe of the Vindhya mountains, 600 caves and rock shelters belonging to neolithic times have been discovered. The Bheem Baithka rock shelters is an archaeological site of the Paleolithic Age and shows the earliest traces of human presence in the Indian subcontinent. Bheem Baithka is the place of the beginning of the South Asian Stone Age. It is in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, India. Some of the caves of Bheem Baithka were accommodations of Homo Sapience 100,000 years ago. Various Stone Age rock paintings are some 30,000 years old. The caves provide also preliminary evidence to today's dance. The Bheem Baithka rock shelters were declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 2003. There are several caves of the stone-age having rock paintings. The place is full of the natural beauty.

The name Bheem Baithka is related and hence named after Bheem, a prominent character of a legendary epic Mahabharata. The word Bheem Baithka means the ‘ Meeting Place of Bheem’. It is said that the Pandavas came to this place and specifically Bheem sat down here therefore the name Bheem Baithka occurred.

The rock shelters of Bheem Baithka are in Raisen district of the state of Madhya Pradesh and 45 km south of Bhopal, on the southern edge of the Vindhya hills. South of these rock shelters are successive rows Satpura hill to see.

The entire area is covered by thick vegetation and is in possession of abundant natural resources like perennial water supply, vast conservation area and rich flora and fauna. This has a striking resemblance to therock paintings from the Kakadu National Park in Australia, the cave paintings of the Bushmen in the Kalahari desert and in the Paleolithic cave paintings of Lascaux in France.

The rock shelters of Bheem Baithka were first reported by the local adivasis. Since 1957, when Vishnu Shridhar Wakankar went to explore these prehistoric rock shelters, more than 750 such cave shelters have been identified, out of which 243 caves are Bheem Baithka group members and 178 of Lakha Juar group . The archaeological researches have showed that it has been site of continuous development of Stone Age cultures, as well as the finest example of world's oldest stone walls and floors.

In the Indian village Barkheda in Bheem Baithka, a mine of the monoliths with plaques on walls or columns has been discovered. A rock , popularly known as "Zoo Rock", shows elephant, sambar, bison and stag e. Other rock shows paintings of peacock, snake, deer and sun. Another rock forms two elephants with tusks. Hunting scenes of hunters with arrows, swords and shields are found in several rocks. This tourist spot is situated about 40 kms away from Bhopal on Obedullaganj road. One can reach there by bus or taxi. People gather here for picnic on holidays. Nearest railway station is Obedullaganj.

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