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Ajanta Caves
Written by Hari Priya on November 15, 2022 Share on

Top 4 Prehistoric Cave Paintings in India – An Artistic Guide

As we all know, India is known for its mindblowing cultural heritage which holds the roots of Indian art which can be traced by the rock-cut structures and cave paintings. Paintings and drawings became the oldest art style by human beings, to express themselves using the cave walls as their canvas. Are you a lover of Indian art culture and ancient architectural techniques?  then indeed the following caves, are of great worth to visit. 

Also Read: Heritage arts and crafts of India – Know about the creator and the created

Here are the top 4 Prehistoric Cave paintings:

1. Ajanta Cave paintings

Ajanta Caves has the oldest Indian paintings. Interestingly, these paintings are made around the 1st century BC. Interestingly, Ajanta cave was built in two-phases. One around the 2nd century BC and the other around 400-650 BC. Buddhism sprang in the Indian context and Ajanta caves, situated about 100 km from Aurangabad, remain to substantiate the same. The Portraits owe their life primarily to Mahayana sector of Buddhism. Buddha’s life is depicted in the form of various images, drawings and other artistic depictions. They are universally called the masterpieces of Buddhist art.

Ajanta Cave
Image Credits: Google Images

2. Ellora Caves

Ellora is a very well known UNESCO World Heritage site, which is located in Maharashtra. There are almost 100 caves at the site, all excavated from the basalt cliffs Chandigarh, out of which only 34 are open to the public. In addition, it is one of the world’s largest rock-cut monastery cave which features the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temples, and artworks which dates back to 600 – 1000 CE period.

You would not want to miss the famous Kailasha or Kailasanatha, largest of the rock-cut Hindu temples at the Ellora caves. Due to its size, architecture and sculptural treatment, it is considered as one of the most remarkable cave temples in the world. These are the above reasons why Ellora caves top the list of top 4 Cave Paintings in India.

Also Read: Best places to explore over weekends near Pune

3. Elephanta Caves

These caves are located in the Elephanta islands of Maharashtra. The colonial Portuguese named it Elefante – morphed to Elephanta after they found elephant sculptures on the island. The paintings were made in the 8th century, and very impressive in details. It is a collection of various cave temples, predominantly dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva. Today, several people hire ferries from the Mumbai coast to reach the island and after a few minutes of trekking get to explore the cave lined with brightly coloured paintings. 

4. Bhimbetka caves

The word Bhimbetka derived from Bhim Bhatika was named after Bhima, one of the five Pandavas from Mahabharata. This cave is found in Bhopal, dating back to 12,700BC or earlier. It exhibits the earliest traces of human life. It shows the paintings and drawings of wild animals such as bison, tiger, elephant, rhinoceros and many more.

This cave community has over 600 separate caves which were primarily shelters. The most frequently used colours in the art are red and white. The oldest painting in this region is around 12000 years old. Ceiling decoration in one of the caves in the greatest aspect of the entire community of caves. The ceiling is quite high, and yet the prehistoric man found a tool to raise him up.

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What are the major Prehistoric sites in India?

There are two important sites in India which are famous for cave paintings, namely Bhimbetka Caves in Amarnath and Jogimara Caves in Madhya Pradesh.

Which is the most famous prehistoric site?

The most famous Prehistoric site in the world is the Stonehenge.

Who is the father of Rock Painting?

Vishnu Shridhar Wakankar is the father of rock painting and he is also the person who found the rock paintings of Bhimbetka caves.

Which is the first Prehistoric painting?

The Altamira Cave paintings located in Spain is the first Prehistoric Painting in the world.

Who discovered Rock paintings in India first?

Archibold Carlleyle, who was an Archaeologist, made the discovery of rock paintings in India in the year 1867-68.

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