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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Foot Prints of Pre-historic Men around Bhopal

Foot prints of pre-historic civilizations are scattered all over the Indian Sub Continent but their abundance in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh is noteworthy. Rock Shelters and Cave Paintings at Bhimbetka near Bhopal are now world famous, thanks to UNESCO which has recognized them as a World Heritage site. Such paintings are known from Singhanpur (Kabra Hill) in Raigarh district, Adamgarh near Hoshangabad, in the nearby hills at Bijawar (Chhatarpur district), at Mrigendranath cave of Patni village of Bareli Tahsil (Raisen district),and again at Chidia Tol hills near Bhopal on Raisen Road. Very recently there were reports of rock paintings being destroyed in the mines near Budhni (Hoshangabad) and there was a great media cry. This prompted the administration to cancel the mining lease.

Closer to Bhimbetka at a distance of 5 kilometers there is another cluster of Rock Shelters known as Pengavan and the paintings occuring there are considered to be very rare. Their antiquity is between 10,000 to 35,000 years. It was also in the news that the hills running parallel to the Kolar Road of Bhopal also contain rock paintings. One Mr. Ashish Joshi, my neighbour, closely connected with the print media, happened to take us to yet another cluster of rock shelters which awaits to be discovered by an archaeologist of repute!. This is closer to the Kerva Dam where on a hill known as Ganesh Pahadi falling in the Samardha ranges, several rock shelters with beautiful paintings greeted us. Still farther from that spot at Madiakot, Mr.Joshi enthusiastically showed us a typical formation of a rock circle, believed to be the burial/sacred place akin to a Tumulus. It was around 70 meters in diameter. Very few people have noticed this so far and this is purely man made and not a creation of nature. A forest road through the newly developed picnic spot with tree houses would lead you there after traversing a distance of around 6/7 kilometers. However, one needs to have a jeep or bikes which can only carry you there.

Once back at home, we also hunted for the stone circle for which Wikimapia and Google Earth came in handy. Yes the satellite maps clearly showed them. We were surprised to find one more small circle below (left) the larger one. It would be of interest to learn that the hills starting from Hoshangabad and going beyond Sanchi (North of Bhopal) have most of the rock shelters as also Buddhist Stupas. It is quite possible that the stone circles could have been the abandoned foundations of Stupas. We believe a deeper study of the terrain coupled with trial excavations is required to come to any meaningful conclusions.

The Eco Tourism Development Board of Madhya Pradesh has been hunting for such hidden treasures lying deep in the forests. For the past few years they are engaged in developing necessary infrastructure at such destinations so as to promote ecotourism. Close to Bhopal they have also identified Samardha village as their epicenter for extensive development. On the other hand the Forest Department, with a view to promote environmental awareness has constructed several tree houses and cottages close to the Kerva Dam near Bhopal. They also arrange trekking and mountaineering expeditions periodically. Incidentally ecotourism is not yet recognized as a forestry activity, although it is a means of conserving forests by increasing visitation and generating awareness. Under this umbrella, ecotourism can be a forestry activity, ancillary to conservation. For greater impetus the Government of India need to take steps to bring in suitable amendment to the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.


  1. Quite interesting, will try to explore this in my next MP trip.

  2. Very interesting... Bhimbetka is of course a well known place, and though I have not been lucky enough to visit it yet, I have seen plenty of photographs.... but the other places were a revelation....

  3. Hi P.N.! Sorry for the absence, but after a long weekend break, I was working abroad last week...
    Interesting post! We also found some foot-prints, stopped the construction of a dam, started tourism, but it doesn't seem it worked well... Let's hope thing develop better there...

    Meanwhile, Blogtrotter Two discovers Sardinia! Enjoy and have a great week!

  4. the photos are of course bring so much of history to us..shd go to MP soon

  5. Very interesting and beautiful. Gorgeous pictures! Thank you for visiting my blog. Your blog is beautiful with full of interesting articles and photos. NAMASTE!

  6. So very fascinating and I am thrilled you posted the photos of ancient graffiti. It was an honor to have you stop by my humble blog for a visit.

  7. Beautiful and very informative post. Your post refreshed my memory of my visit to this place.

  8. Hi PNS:)

    Very interesting information and lovely photos. I never realized that MP has such wonderful wealth of inestimable value. It is amazing to see how how our ancestors tried to leave a lasting impression of their existence with their primitive tools. Their imagination, creativity and innovative spirit is awe inspiring.

    You have provided a wealth of information by your personal visits and deep study and lovely photos. This is truly a magnificent post.

    Best wishes:)

  9. Hi P.N.! Thanks for the comments on Blogtrotter Two, which is now showing some incredible rocks by the sea... Enjoy and have a great week!

  10. Those are very interesting cave markings. I am fascinated when I see evidence of our ancestors keeping tabs on history.

    Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comment. Come visit again tomorrow! Have a great week ahead!

  11. Very Interesting and informative article.
    I have been planning to visit Bhimbetka for so long , but yet to do it !

    Hadn't heard of Pengavan or Ganesh Pahadi.It was a revelation.