Critical Study of Bhimbetka as Tourist Destination of
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
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 IMPLEMENTATION 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
Department/authority responsible M.P. Ecotourism Development Board
(Source of information : M.P. Ecotourism Development Board.)
8.2. PROJECTS UNDER IMPLEMENTATION :
Name of project Development of tourist circuit Sanchi-Bhopal-Bhojpur-
Cost Rs.35 Lakh (Total 800 Lakh)
Details of project: Highway treat
Department/authority responsible MP Tourism
(Source of information : M.P. Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.)
IX VISITORS SURVEY
No. of Visitors Surveyed:
Indian : 04
Foreigners : 02
Total : 06
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."
Source: E-mail December 28, 2012
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