Essentials

Getting There

The Bhimbetka caves are located within the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary, a 45km/1.5-hr drive south of Bhopal, on the way to Hoshangabad. Taxis charge ₹2,100 for the return trip, which includes waiting time and a detour to the magnificent Bhojpur Shiva temple, built by Raja Bhoj, founder of Bhopal. There are frequent buses from Bhopal to Hoshangabad, and you can ask to be dropped off at the Bhimbetka junction from where the caves are a 3-km uphill hike. You can also get off at Obdullaganj, some 5km before the Bhimbetka junction and hire a rickshaw to take you up the hill. (Open daily 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Entry fee Indians ₹50, foreigners ₹100; guides available at extra cost although main caves are well signposted.)

Need to Know

- Due to the hilly location, the site isn’t disabled-friendly, although the approximately 1,400-metre walk through the caves follows well-kept pathways.

- Try to go on a weekday when you’re less likely to run into other tourists.

- There are no facilities at the site except for semi-broken, never-cleaned toilets, and I noticed many tourists opted to do their business in the gardens instead.

- The MP Tourism restaurant and café, the Highway Treat, located 3km downhill from the caves on the main road (25km from Bhojpur), serves tea and food and has better loo facilities (open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.). They also have three air-conditioned guest rooms in case you want to stay the night (07480-281558; bhimbetka@mptourism.com; doubles ₹2,590).

Bharat Bhavan The performing arts centre and art gallery is located in the Shyamla Hills district on the shore of Bhopal’s Upper Lake (entry ₹10; free on Fridays). The complex has several art galleries, a theatre, library, and a nice, affordable canteen.

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