Bhimbetka Rock Art & Sanchi MonumentsFebruary 6, 2019 in India ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C
Another double-visit today. Hired a car from our hotel and headed out early, around 8am. First stop was the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, a rock art WHS in the middle of nowhere, south-west of Bhopal. The rock art here is a couple of thousand years old and very impressive: colourful and with good details. Lots of animals, but people and scenes too like hunting and battles. Cool to see elephants included in the paintings, as obviously they were important to the peoples of the time!
Spent about an hour here where we were literally the only people except for a couple of security guys (and right at the end an upper-class older Indian couple arrived). Quite an interesting spot, and cool to see how it compares with the rock art we've seen in many other places (France, Spain, Scandinavia, Australia).
Back in the car where we drove to the north-east of Bhopal and the small town of Sanchi. Here, on a hill outside of the town is a collection of Buddhist stupas which date back to as early as 300BC. It's actually quite unusual because although Buddha himself was Indian, Buddhism is quite uncommon in India - less than Hindus, Muslims and even Christians. But the earliest stupas were set down by King Ashoka when he converted to Buddhism. Ashoka is a very important figure in Indian history, sort of like Augustus and Rome. He and his descendants the Guptas ruled India for several hundred years and established important cities, laws and the like.
Anyway the stupas were quite nice, and each had a group of monumental archways adjacent. These were extremely intricately carved with stories about the life of the Buddha, his teachings and so on. Fascinating to see, and in really good condition - we were both very impressed! All up, a good day - just a shame we had to go back to the busy marketplace and our hotel.Read more