Monday, August 17, 2009

Bhimbetka and Bhojpur

Day 6: 30th January 2005 Bhopal, Bhimbetka and Bhojpur

The travel to Bhimbetka situated about 45 kms from Bhopal was quite an experience, buses to this place is rare (or atleast was in 2005), it is almost like MTDC wants to hide this place a little longer. We had to take a mini bus, which never maintained anything like timing, the state of the mini bus is so disappointing that it is better not to detail, so much so it was a relief get off and reassuring we did so in one piece.

We got down in a place called Abdulla Kanj, at a distance of about 3.5 kms from the destination, we inquired with a few people and realized to our horror that there was no scheduled transportation to the caves, and so we walked the narrow tarred and almost completely isolated road to the acclaimed cave shelters. The place is spread across a few kilometers and we had to avail the services of a guide to ensure that we did not get lost and covered all the important points.

Bhimbetka, is a cluster of more than 700 rock shelters with stone age paintings, some of which are more then 9000 years old. The word Bhimbetka is said to be derived from Bhimbaithka, meaning sitting place of Bhima, a very popular character from the Mahabharata, one of the Panadavas who was renowned for his immense strength. The rock shelters and caves of Bhimbetka have a number of interesting paintings which depict the lives and times of the people who lived in the caves

Executed mainly in red and white with the occasional use of green and yellow with themes taken from the everyday events of the past, the scenes usually depict hunting, dancing, music, horse and elephant riders animal fighting, honey collection decoration of bodies, disguises, masking and household scenes. One rock, popularly referred to as “Zoo Rock”, depicts elephants, sambar, bison and deer.

A strange thing is that the rocks here have a smooth shape with stunning hues and textures, which looks like the ones formed because of erosion by flowing water. There are a quite a few who believe this place once upon a time was in water, which is hard to believe seeing the surrounding and not so hard to believe when you see the patterns on the rock

We did not find any bus or for that matter any other means on transport for going to Abdulla Kanj, and hence decided to walk the 3.5 kms stretch again (we knew it was not going to be easy this time after exhausting our energy walking around the cave shelters). I kept on telling my friends how lucky we would be if we were to get lift in one of the returning cars. We decided to try our luck and started signaling for a lift to passing cars, and to our great surprise one wonderful couple stopped and we got in, when we started talking they realized we were also going to Bhopal and offered to drop us all the way till there.

We could not believe our ears when they gave us the next pleasant surprise, that they were planning to see the famous Bhojpur temple on the way and that we could join them if we liked. We had actually planned to see the Bhojpur temple but had given up because of the poor transport system and lack of time. So this was actually the best surprise they could give us and we all gave thanks to the God for our great luck. We still admire the couple for their courage and helping nature, of giving lift to three men who were total strangers. The couple also had a very cute son, who took a liking to me, and so I had the privilege of carrying him in and around the temple.

Bhojeshwar temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, located on top of a hill is the most important place in Bhojpur. The temple was built sometime around 11th century. The structure towers to a height of 66 feet, with a central linga and an attractive dome covering it. The dome although incomplete, is beautiful and captivating. The dome is supported by four richly carved pillars. The architecture is fantastic and the carvings on the inner walls of the dome are extraordinary. The place is filled with monkeys eagerly waiting to snatch the eatables from the hand of the visitors.

We returned to our hotel by around 7:30 PM, and took part in the late night wedding ceremony and reception. It was really a new experience to see the bridegroom coming in riding a horse amidst the sound of crackers, people singing, shouting and dancing. The wedding I believe went on till the dawn of the next day; we though excused ourselves after midnight, and went to our rooms and slept. The following day we started the long 30 + hour journey back to Bangalore by Train, concluding our week long adventure, with beautiful memories etched in our minds to be remembered and cherished.

Day 1: 25th January 2005 - Introduction
Day 2: 26th January 2005 - Hyderabad (Charminar, Golconda fort, Birla mandir)
Day 3: 27th January 2005 - Aurangabad (Ellora, Daulatabad Fort, Biwi ka Maqbara)
Day 4: 28th January 2005 - Ajanta Caves
Day 5: 29th January 2005 - Bhopal and Sanchi

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