Auditorium Cave, Bhimbetka - Timings, History, Best Time to Visit

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Bhimbetka Bus Stop): 3 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 30 Mins

Place Location: Inside Bhimbetka Rock Shelters Complex

Transportation Options: Walk/Trek

Travel Tips: Since the ticket counter is about 2 km from the site, it is suggested that you travel the distance in a vehicle instead of walking.

At a distance of 3 km from Bhimbetka Bus Stop, Auditorium Cave is an ancient rock-cut cave situated in Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the prominent caves in the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters Complex, and among the must-include places in Bhimbetka tour packages.

Among the 15 rock shelters opened for the public, the Auditorium Cave or Cave 3 is the largest shelter, as well as the significant features of the archaeological site of Bhimbetka midst its 750 numbered shelters spread over 10 kilometers on either side and nearly 500 locations where rock paintings can be found. Surrounded by quartzite towers which are visible from several kilometers, the Auditorium Cave comprises a large horizontal tunnel roughly 25 m long leading to a cavernous high-ceilinged chamber with three passageway exits.

The whole cave gallery resembling a 'cathedral-like' atmosphere, with its Gothic arches and soaring spaces. The main entry points to the east. At the entrance, there is a boulder with a near-vertical panel that is distinctive, one visible from a distance and in all directions. In archaeology literature, this boulder has been dubbed as 'Chief's Rock' or 'King's Rock', though there is no evidence of any rituals or their role as such.

In 1990 here, on Chief's Rock, were discovered 9 cupules - simple, round hemispheric cavities with traces of red pigment. They looked very old but it seemed nearly impossible to find their true age. In 1991, a tenth cupule along with a single meandering groove, indisputably associated with it, were found covered by remains dating from the Acheulian period. These petroglyphs were created on heavily recrystallized, very hard quartzite that was extensively mined during the Lower Palaeolithic. While no radiometric dating information is available from the Auditorium cave site, the Acheulian culture of India is comparable with that of Africa and Europe, and all radiometric dates so far for such cultural relics have been greater than 290,000 years. Later research by other dating methods (micro-erosion analysis) gave even more incredible results - it might be that these cupules were made 700,000 years ago!

Timings: 7 AM - 6 PM

Bhimbetka Rock Shelter Entry: Rs. 25 for Indians, Rs. 500 for Foreigners, Rs. 100 for 2-Wheelers, Rs. 300 for Cars