Critical Study of Bhimbetka as Tourist Destination of
Madhya Pradesh Tourism


By

Prof. Sanjay Payasi
MSc, MCA, MDSE, FDP
Registrar
Maharana Pratap Group of Colleges
Amla, Amarpura Road, Near Ratibad, Bhopal-462044

Professor (Dr.) N.C. Jain
M.Com, Ph.D, LLB
Professor & Former Dean
Faculty of Commerce
Govt. College
Mandideep, Distt. Raisen

Mrs. Sushma Sharma
MCom, Ph.D.- Research Scholar
Asst. Professor
Unique College
Jawahar Chowk, T.T. Nagar, Bhopal-462003
 


1.   INTRODUCTION

Development of necessary infrastructure and facilities at any tourist destination is the first and most important step in maximizing the tourist satisfaction and for the promotion of that destination itself as major tourist attraction. The objective of the deficiency study conducted by Madhya Pradesh Tourism was to identify the deficiencies in the tourist destination in terms of urban infrastructure, management of civic services including garbage and solid waste disposal, management and implementation of forest and environment related projects and up gradation of electrical and water supply system.

2.  METHODOLOGY

The survey was divided in three parts:

* Primary survey of destination: A primary survey of the destination was done. The survey instrument was designed to examine the primary attributes/deficiencies in the urban infrastructure like rail/road/air connectivity, accommodation, transport system, food/beverage quality & availability, water electricity supply, information mechanism, etc. as well as secondary destination attributes like shopping complexes, multiplexes, flyovers, ropeways, signages, etc.

* Reports & statements of the government department/authorities concerned: The study instrument was designed to get first hand information from all the concerned departments/authorities like rail, road, air, forest, M.P. Ecotourism Development Board, District Collector office, Municipal Corporation, concerned voluntary organizations, etc regarding their developmental projects under implementation or under pipeline for the development of the destination.

* Visitor survey: Random and unbiased visitor survey from the cross-section of visitors available at the destination was also done to get their feedback and suggestions.

I GENERAL
INFORMATION

1.1.   Place

Bhimbetka

1.2.   District

Raisen

1.3.   Location

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetaka' lie 45 km south of Bhopal, and are located at the southern edge of the Vindhyachal hills. Towards south of these rock shelters are successive ranges of the Satpura hills. The entire area is covered by thick forests and vegetation. The area has abundant natural resources like perennial water supplies, natural shelters, rich forest flora and fauna and bear significant resemblance to similar rock art site like Kakadu National Park in Australia, the cave paintings of the Bushmen in Kalahari Desert, and the Upper Paleolithic Lascaux cave paintings in France.

1.4.   Latitude

22.47' & 23 .33' N

1.5.   Longitude

77.21' & 78.49' E

1.6.   Area

8,395 Sq. Km. (of District)

1.7.   Population

Nil (falls under Ratapani Wild Life Sanctuary)

1.8.   Literacy 

NA

    1.9.   Gram Panchayat/ Nagar Panchayat

NA

    1.10.  Places of Tourist    Interest

Rock Shelters & Rock painting


1.11.   History :

Surrounded by the northern fringe of the Vindhyan ranges,  Bhimbetka lies 46 km south of Bhopal. In this rocky terrain of  dense forest and craggy cliffs, over 600 rock shelters belonging  to the Neolithic age were recently discovered. Here, in vivid,  panoramic detail, paintings in over 500 caves depict the  life of the prehistoric cave-dwellers, making the Bhimbetka  group an archaeological treasure, an invaluable chronicle in the  history of man.





Executed mainly in red and white with the occasional use of green  and yellow, with themes taken from the everyday events of aeons  ago, the scenes usually depict hunting, dancing, music, horse and  elephant riders, animals fighting, honey collection, decoration of  bodies, disguises, masking and household scenes. Animals such as  bisons, tigers, lions, wild boar, elephants, antelopes, dogs,  lizards, hunting scene - a popular motif with rock painters  crocodiles etc. have been abundantly depicted in some caves.  Popular religdious and ritual symbols also occur frequently.

The superimposition of paintings shows that the same canvas was used by different people at different times. The drawings and paintings can be classified under seven different  periods:

* Period I- (Upper Paleolithic): These are linear representations, in green and dark red, of huge figures of animals such as bisons, tigers, and rhinoceroses.

* Period II- (Mesolithic): Comparatively small in size, the stylized figures in this group show linear decoration on the body. In addition to animals, there are human figures and hunting scenes, giving a clear picture of the weapons they used: barbed spears, pointed sticks, bows and arrows. The depiction of communal dances, birds, musical instruments, mother and child, pregnant women, men carrying dead animals, drinking and burials appear in rhythmic movement.

* Period III - (Chaleolithic): Similar to the paintings of Chaleolithic pottery, these drawings reveal that during the period the cave dwellers of this area had come in contact with the agricultural communities of the Malwa plains and started an exchange of their requirements with each other.

* Period IV & V - (Early Historic): The figures of this group have a schematic and decorative style, and are painted mainly in red, white and yellow. The association is of riders, depiction of religious symbols, tunic-like dresses and the existence of scripts of different periods. The religious beliefs are represented by figures of yakshas, tree gods and magical sky chariots.

* Period Vl & Vll - (Medieval) : These paintings are geometric, linear and more schematic, but they show degeneration and crudeness in their artistic style.

The colours used by the cave dwellers were prepared combining manganese, hematite, soft red stone and wooden coal. Sometimes the fat of animals and extracts of leaves were also used in the mixture. The colours have remained intact for many centuries due to the chemical reaction resulting from the oxide present on the surface of the rocks.

1.12.   RAIL, ROAD & AIR CONNECTIVITY :

A.  Rail connectivity
:
Bhopal (46 km), on the Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Mumbai mainline is the most convenient rail-head for reaching Bhimbetka.

B. Road connectivity: Bhimbetka is connected to National Highway NH-12 ( 3 kms) It is connected by bus with Bhopal.

C.  Air connectivity : Bhopal (46 km from Bhimbetka ) is the nearest airport. It is connected with Mumbai, Delhi, Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior

II MAP



III URBAN
INFRASTRUCTURE

3.1. HOTELS :

Since Bhimbetka falls under Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary, and there are stringent norms of Forest Act and forest departments, there is no hotel or any other sort of accommodation there.

3.1.1.  Deficiency Observed

Though Bhimbetka is a world heritage site with rock paintings of Paleolithic era and natural rock dwellings, it lacks accommodation facility. The nearest location with the accommodation and hotel facility is Bhopal (46 km). This is one of the biggest drawback of the destination.

3.2.    RESTAURANTS :

For the same reason of its being situated in a wild life sanctuary, there is not even a single restaurant/refreshment center/cafeteria  in  Bhimbetka.  Cafeterias/ restaurants/ juice centers, etc are available only in Bhopal (46 km).

3.2.1.  Deficiency Observed

The climbing and walk on the Bhimbetka rocks is tiring and exhausting. But unfortunately there is not even a single restaurant/refreshment center/cold-drink shop or drinking water arrangement. No refreshments are available till Obedullaganj, which is 14 kms away from Bhimbetka.

3.3.    TOUR OPERATORS & TRAVEL AGENTS :

There are no travel agents/tour operators either in Bhimbetka or Obedadullaganj. They are available only in Bhopal.

3.4.    TRANSPORTATION & ROADS :

The approach road to Bhimbetka connects to National Highway at a distance of 3 kms. This patch of 3 kms is in very bad shape and all kuchcha road. No public transportation facility is available from Bhopal to Bhimbetka. The public transport available on national highway  NH-12, drops the visitors at a distance of 3 kms from Bhimbetka. However, Madhya Pradesh Tourism runs its tourist buses from Bhopal to Bhimbetka on every Saturday and Sunday.

3.4.1.  Deficiency Observed

The deficiencies observed are:

a) Poor condition of approach road.
b) Inadequate availability of the public transport.

3.5. PARKING FACILITY :

Though the parking facility is sufficient at Bhimbetka, the unleveled parking space is a major hurdle in parking at Bhimbetka.

3.5.1.  Deficiency Observed

Insufficient parking facility at Bhimbetka.

3.6.    SIT-OUTS/BENCHES :

Only two benches are available at Bhimbetka.

3.6.1. Deficiency Observed

Due to rock dwellings, Bhimbetka becomes extremely hot during day time and in summers and there is no sufficient sitting facility also.

3.7. SIGNAGES & HOARDINGS :

Signages & hoardings help the visitors in locating the destination. But one can barely find any signage or hoardings about Bhimbetka on the National Highway or on connecting roads.

3.7.1.  Deficiency Observed

There are no signages and hoardings either on highways or on approach road to Bhimbetka. Signages and hoardings about the history and signages impinging cleanliness to the tourists are also missing at Bhimbetka.

3.8.    TOURIST POLICE :

The Bhimbetka area and the approach to Bhimbetka are deserted and it is difficult to find any traffic on the Bhimbetka approach road. So visitors are prone to high risk in that region. But there are no arrangements of tourist police at Bhimbetka. The nearest police station is 14 kms away from City at Obedullaganj.

3.8.1.  Deficiency Observed

There is no tourist police station at Bhimbetka and the tourists have no remedy in case of threat on safety issues.

3.9.    AVAILABILITY OF LEAFLETS/PAMPHLETS :

Information leaflets enlightens and enriches the visitors about the natural beauty and history of the place. But at Bhimbetka.

3.9.1.  Deficiency observed

Non-availability of the high quality and attractive leaflets/pamphlets providing reliable information about the monuments at the sites.

3.10.    SOUVENIR/HANDICRAFT SHOPS :

Handicraft/souvenir shops are favorite shopping places of tourist as he wants to take home the memories of the place.

3.10.1. Deficiency Observed

There is not even a single handicraft/souvenir shop at Bhimbetka

3.11.  GUIDES :

There is just one registered guide available in Bhimbetka.

3.11.1. Deficiency Observed

There is dearth of guides in Bhimbetka. Only one guide is available and sometimes, he too is not available.

3.12.   LANDSCAPING/PARKS :

Bhimbetka is the natural rock dwelling and becomes too hot in day time and extremely difficult to visit during summers. Proper landscaping and construction of parks in the surroundings will enhance the beauty of Bhimbetka and give soothing feeling to the visitors.

3.12.1. Deficiency Observed

No landscaping or beautification of Bhimbetka. There is no public park at Bhimbetka. The stringent norms of forest department make it almost impossible to do the landscaping or construct a park there.

IV M
ANAGEMENT OF CIVIC SERVICES INCLUDING GARBAGE & SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL

4.1. HYGIENE :

Hygiene condition is satisfactory at Bhimbetka. But at the railway crossing, 3 kms from Bhimbetka near main signage of Bhimbetka, there is huge railway litter, which gives it very bad impression. Garbage dumps can also be seen at the onset of approach road from national highway.

4.1.1.  Deficiency Observed

Garbage dumps and railway litter found at the entrance of Bhimbetka at the railway crossing. Garbage dumps could be also found on the national highway leading to Bhimbetka at Obedullaganj.

4.2.    TOILET :

Only one toilet (kuchcha -temporary) is found at Bhimbetka, which is in ghastly shape. The reason for not having proper toilet facility is the forest department's stringent regulations.

4.3.    DRINKING WATER FACILITY :

No drinking water facility is available at Bhimbetka.

4.4.    MODE OF SOLID WASTE AND GARBAGE DISPOSAL :

As Bhimbetka is not inhabited, there is no question of solid waste disposal there. The waste/garbage is disposed off in traditional way by the Archeological Survey of India.

V I
MPLEMENTATION AND MANAGEMENT OF ENVIRONMENT & FOREST RELATED PROJECTS

No environment or forest related project is under implementation at Bhimbetka presently. Though M.P. Ecotourism Development Board has proposed a few projects for the Bhimbetka, which is under consideration.

VI UPGRADATION OF ELECTRICAL AND WATER SUPPLY DISTRIBUTION INFRASTRUCTURE

6.1.    ELECTRICITY SUPPLY :

There is no electricity supply in Bhimbetka. Only one solar lamp is installed at the office of security guard.

6.2.    WATER SUPPLY :

 There is no water supply/water connection at Bhimbetka. There are no arrangements for water supply for visitors at Bhimbetka.

VII O
BSERVATIONS AT TOURIST PLACES

The deficiencies observed at Bhimbetka are :

*
Poor visibility of signage on national highway.
* Garbage dumps and railway clutter at railway crossing before Bhimbetka.
* Approach road is in poor condition
* Parking space unleveled
* No drinking water facility
* No toilet facility
* No security & safety arrangement
* No landscaping/public parks
* No proper conservation of rock paintings and no conservation of rock dwellings at all.
* Scarcity of guide. (only one available)
* No signages about history/background/cleanliness
* No public transportation facility
* Non-availability of accommodation.
* Non-availability of refreshment centers/restaurants
* No electricity supply

VIII PROJECTS PROPOSED & UNDER IMPLEMENTATION

8.1.   PROJECTS PROPOSED :

Name of project                            Ecotourism Development at Bhimbetka
Cost                                           To be worked out
Details of project:                         Capacity building/infrastructure
                                                 development
Department/authority responsible     M.P. Ecotourism Development Board
                                                 for implementation
(Source of information : M.P. Ecotourism Development Board.)

8.2.    PROJECTS UNDER IMPLEMENTATION :

Name of project                            Development of tourist circuit Sanchi-Bhopal-Bhojpur-
                                                             Bhimbetka- Pachmarhi
Cost                                           Rs.35 Lakh (Total 800 Lakh)
Details of project:                         Highway treat
Department/authority responsible     MP Tourism
for implementation
(Source of information : M.P. Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.)

IX VISITORS SURVEY

No. of Visitors Surveyed:

Indian : 04
Foreigners : 02
Total : 06

    PARTICULARS

    Excellent

    Good

    Average

    Poo r

    Conclusi on

    Accommodation

    0

    0

    4

    2

    Average

    Food

    0

    0

    0

    0

    Nil

    Rail

    0

    2

    4

    0

    Average

    Road

    1

    2

    3

    0

    Average

    Air

    0

    0

    0

    0

    Nil

    Electricity

    0

    0

    0

    6

    Poor

    Hygiene

    0

    1

    2

    3

    Poor

    Guide

    0

    2

    4

    0

    Average

    Signage

    0

    2

    0

    4

    Poor

    Information Broacher/Leaflet

    0

    0

    0

    6

Poor


Special Remarks of visitors:

*
"It is disheartening to see such condition of a world heritage site. There is no accommodation facility, no cafeteria, no drinking water facility, no electricity, no toilets, no safety arrangements."

* "Amazing rocks and amazing paintings, but why the authorities are not conserving the rocks, which are beautiful natural dwellings."

X RECOMMENDATIONS

10.1.  IMPROVEMENT OF ROADS & TRANSPORTATION : The approach road to Bhimbetka ( a patch of 3 kms) should be constructed and public transportation facility should be improved.

10.2.   ACCOMMODATION FACILITY : Luxury and budget accommodation facilities should be constructed for the visitors at Bhimbetka or somewhere near the railway crossing outside the sanctuary.

10.3.   CAFETERIAS/REFRESHMENT CENTRES :Cafeterias/refreshment centers should be opened at Bhimbetka.

10.4.   INFORMATION DISSEMINATION/PAMPHLETS :Attractive brochures/leaflets providing reliable information about the Bhimbetka rock dwellings and paintings should be made available at Bhimbetka.

10.5.   IMPROVEMENT IN HYGIENE CONDITION : Garbage dumps and railway litter at railway crossing should be cleared and hygiene condition should be improved.

10.6.   SIGNAGES : Attractive and sufficient number of signages and hoardings about the place and that impinging cleanliness should be displayed at appropriate places.

10.7.   LANDSCAPING/PUBLIC PARKS : Proper landscaping of the Bhimbetka should be done to give it a face-lift and make it soothing and interesting for the visitors.

10.8.   SECURITY ARRANGEMEN : Sufficient security arrangement and gun laced guards should be placed at various points at Bhimbetka and also on approach road.

10.9.   CIVIC FACILITIES : Basic civic facilities like drinking water and toilet facilities should be provided at Bhimbetka.

10.10. INTERPRETATION CENTRE : An Interpretation Centre should be established at Bhimbetka.

XI CONCLUSION

It is very poignant that though Bhimbetka is a world heritage site, yet not even the basic facilities are available at the place. This is the major hindrance in the promotion of Bhimbetka as major tourist destination.

XII BIBLIOGRAPHY

* Primary survey
*
Information received from guide
* Pamphlets and information brochure published by Madhya Pradesh Tourism
* www.mptourism.com
* www.wikipedia.com
* Information received from the office of District collector/magistrate
* Information received from the office of Chief Municipal Officer.
* CEO, Zila Panchayat
* www.mp.nic.in/districts
* Visitors' Guide published by Madhya Pradesh Tourism
* M.P. Ecotoursim Development Board
* M.P. Tourism Development Corporation Ltd
* Office of M.P. Ecotourism Development Board
* Archeological Survey of India
* M.P. Road Development Corporation
* Madhya Pradesh Vikas Pradhikaran
* Department of Town & Country planning
* www.mapsofindia.com
* Conservator of Forest

XII ANNEXURE PHOTOGRAPHS


 


Prof. Sanjay Payasi
MSc, MCA, MDSE, FDP
Registrar
Maharana Pratap Group of Colleges
Amla, Amarpura Road, Near Ratibad, Bhopal-462044

Professor (Dr.) N.C. Jain
M.Com, Ph.D, LLB
Professor & Former Dean
Faculty of Commerce
Govt. College
Mandideep, Distt. Raisen

Mrs. Sushma Sharma
MCom, Ph.D.- Research Scholar
Asst. Professor
Unique College
Jawahar Chowk, T.T. Nagar, Bhopal-462003
 

Source: E-mail December 28, 2012

          

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