Raisen: Global Capital of Rock Paintings

Raisen: Global Capital of Rock Paintings

The history of humanity is very interesting. For those who have an understanding of facts and events, there is no better story than history because it is a living and true story of civilization. Tracing the development of civilization and the history of human settlement leads us to the wilderness where early man planted the seed of life in an inhospitable natural cavity habitat. These caves are called rock shelters and are very important sources of information about the earliest history of human civilization.

Looking at the geography and natural conditions of Raisen district, it seems as if this district is a special darling of Mother Nature. The forested hills and the ever-flowing rivers make this region a suitable natural habitat for living. This is the reason why early humans chose this area to establish early human settlements. Human settlements settled in the caves of the forests here, which remained inhabited for thousands of years. Hundreds of prehistoric rock shelters are found in the forests of the entire Raisen district, most of these are painted rock shelters, in which the silent primitive man has given expression to his feelings through natural colors. Raisen's Bhimbaithka group of rock shelters is world famous, as well as the rock paintings and rock shelters found here at Ramchhajja, Pengawan, Kharbai, Putli Karar, Urden, Bijli Toll, Radha Ki Toll, Javra Vanagram etc. are of great importance. Probably such a large number of painted rock shelters in a single district are not found anywhere else in the world and this is the reason that Raisen is known as the 'Global Capital of Rock Paintings'.

Rock art is simple in appearance but very special. Simple-looking paintings have deep meaning in them. These rock paintings tell the story of that prehistoric period when man did not know how to write, read or speak. These stories recorded on stones and rocks belong to the period when languages and scripts were not even born. In such a situation, these rock paintings play an important role in making us know about the culture, behavior, thought, art, daily social life, food and drink etc. of our forgotten ancestors.

The global importance of Raisen's rock paintings increases even more with the research done in recent years. Here the fossil of the world's oldest animal has been found in a rock shelter of Bhimbetka. According to researchers, it is about 570 million years old and is similar to Dickinsonia tenius found in southern Australia. This is a fossil of an aquatic animal. Today's densely populated area must have been submerged at that time.

In such a situation, it has to be said that these rock shelters of Raisen have been a suitable place for living beings since millions of years before the origin of man. Modern humans have harmed them by illegal mining, encroachment and neglecting them. This situation should be changed.

We hope that we will save these permanent residences of our ancestors in the same way as we save the dilapidated ancestral house inherited by our grandparents.

Shivaji Rai
Asst. Professor of History
SoAHSS, SAGE University Bhopal

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