10th Januarry, 2020. We started our day early. Me, Sambhav and Mantu with our driver Ramesh drove to Bhimbetika caves. These caves are also known as rock shelters. Their existence spans prehistoric and Mesolithic periods. These exhibits traces of human life on the Indian subcontinent and evidence of Stone Age starting at the site in Acheulian times. This site has 7 hills and over 750 rock shelters distributed over 10 kilometers. Some of the rock shelters are believed to be over 100,000 years old.
Even though there are 750 rock shelters to be explored, only around 10-15 rock shelters are open for the common public as the rest of the rock shelters are in a dense jungle which has very active wildlife. If one wishes to explore these all hidden rock shelters then he/she needs to obtain a permission from ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) and produce the letter to a local guide at the site who can arrange a safari for approximately 2500 rs, the next day.
The legend of this place has it that this was a favorite resting place of Bhima, one of the five Pandavas from ancient Indian epic saga, Mahabharata, hence the name bhimbhaithika, meaning sitting place of Bhima. But our guide told us there’s another interpretation of the name of the site. Bhim means huge or gigantic and betika or batika means forest, hence the name Bhimbetika. This interpretation made more sense to me.
The site was magnificently beautiful. It felt very calm and serene wandering around these caves observing ancient art forms from earlier humans. It was a trip back in time. I plan to visit this place again next year to explore all the other hundreds of caves hidden in the forest
Bhojpur Shiva Temple
This ancient temple is believed to have been built in the 11th century during the reign of the Paramara king ‘Bhoja’. The construction was abandoned for unknown reasons. This temple has one of the largest Shiva lingas in India. The linga measures 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) in its sanctum
In the evening, since I had some time at my disposal, I went to visit ‘Manav Sangrahalay’. Sambhav and Mantu had some personal chores to take care of, so I just went by myself. This exhibition depicts a story of human evolution in its various stages. It was a great experience. Since it was very dark there I could not take many photographs. These are the few that I managed to take.
No it’s not a name of a place in MP, but it’s a most popular delicacy. When I travel, I make it a point to meet the local people and taste the local food, preferably not in a restaurant. When Sambhav learned about my travel ideas, he made a plan to make Daal Baafle at his place. After our day’s excursion was over, we travelled to Sehore, a little village around 50 kms west of Bhopal. This is the village where Sambhav grew up. His parents still live in their old but big house and this is the same house where Sambhav set up his animation studio setup in the beginning. Me and other friends from Sambhav’s animation studio had gathered here for the Daal Baafle treat. Daal Baafle are basically balls of dough roasted and eaten with a brinjal curry. We were all on the terrace of the house and it was freaking cold. Making fresh Daal Baafle and having them while they are superhot in the cold weather was a satisfying experience. I thank Sambhav and his wife and all the other friends for arranging this quick treat before I left to continue my journey. It was an unforgettable memory.
To Be Continued…