May 1, 2017

3032 INDIA (Madhya Pradesh) - Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (UNESCO WHS)

Located in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains on the southern edge of the central Indian plateau, inside the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary, the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka are an archaeological site of the Paleolithic, exhibiting the earliest traces of human life on the Indian Subcontinent, and thus the beginning of the Indian Stone Age. The name Bhimbetka (meaning "the sitting place of Bhima") is associated with Bhima, a hero-deity of the epic Mahabharata.

Within massive sandstone outcrops, above comparatively dense forest, are five clusters of natural rock shelters, displaying paintings that appear to date from the Mesolithic Period right through to the historical period. The cultural traditions of the inhabitants of the twenty-one villages adjacent to the site bear a strong resemblance to those represented in the rock paintings. At least some of the shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus over 100,000 years ago.

One rock, popularly referred to as "Zoo Rock", depicts elephants, barasingha, bison and deer. Paintings on another rock show a peacock, a snake, a deer and the sun. On another rock, two elephants with tusks are painted. Hunting scenes with hunters carrying bows, arrows, swords and shields also find their place in the community of these pre-historic paintings. In one of the caves, a bison is shown in pursuit of a hunter while his two companions appear to stand helplessly nearby; in another, some horsemen are seen, along with archers.

About the stamps
The first and the last stamp are part of the series Wild Flowers, about which I wrote here. The second stamp is part of the series Builders of Modern India, about which I wrote here.

Bhimbetka rock shelters - Wikipedia
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka - UNESCO official website

Sender: Mansoor B. (direct swap)
Sent from Bolar, Mangalore (Karnataka / India), on 18.04.2017
Photo: Bernard Gagnon

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