Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Seeing the sights near Bhopal, India: Sanchi and Bhimbetka

Two world heritage sites a stone's throw from Bhopal. Sanchi is the site of a Buddhist Stupa that is in the process of being restored. We were very lucky to see it on a day when it was hot but not extremely so, and being right after the rainy season, the surroundings were lush and verdant. I confess I spent more time enjoying the peacefulness of the surroundings than listening to our tour guide.

Being a caligrapher, I was fascinated with these carvings on the main stupa. Our guide explained that these are similar to what you would see on a monument today, the 'this brick donated by so and so' but from ancient times. Here's a few I took pictures of:

Bhimbetka is the site of very ancient cave paintings. I thought I would be descending underground to see them, but all of the caves were like giant rock outcroppings in a wooded area. We had a somewhat overcast and cooler day here, and it was fascinating to walk through the rock formations and see the ancient drawings on the cave walls in white, black and red. Our guide on this trip was very helpful and informative about when the different drawings were made, and letting us know that before the site was made a World Heritage Site, the people in the area never really took the cave paintings very seriously.

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