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Bhimbetka, rock paintings | by Arian Zwegers
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Bhimbetka, rock paintings

Bhimbetka, no. III F-23, two elephants with a man standing on one elephant's back holding a goad


The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site of the Paleolithic, exhibiting the earliest traces of human life on the Indian subcontinent, and thus the beginning of the South Asian Stone Age. It is located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, inside the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary. At least some of the shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus more than 100,000 years ago. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old. The caves also deliver early evidence of dance. They were declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.


The name Bhimbetka is associated with Bhima, a hero-deity of the epic Mahabharata. The word Bhimbetka is said to derive from Bhimbaithka, meaning "sitting place of Bhima".



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Taken on December 28, 2012