Chaturbhujnath Nala Rock Shelters - An iconic site that portrays ancient lifestyle!

May 05, 2020

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Bhanpura, a small township in Mandsaur district holds a wealth of heritage and natural beauty away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Around 30 kms from the town are the rock shelters called Chaturbhujnath Nala or Chaturbhuj Nala stretched over the 5 km long trail with thousands of ancient rock paintings on the wall. Situated within the Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary, it encompasses the spectacular views of sprawling landscape and splendid water bodies.


The discovery of Chaturbhuj nala rock shelters


Belonging to the pre-pastoral (over 6,000-12,000 years old) to the early medieval age (10th century), the Chaturbhuj nala rock shelters are often compared to the UNESCO approved Bhimbetka rock shelters. Named after a nearby Chaturbhujnath temple, the site was discovered in 1977 by a local school teacher Ramesh Kumar Pancholi and his friends. Since then, these rock canvases have gained many international tourists and travellers who come to spend fun weekends.


The first 700m of the site is accessible to the visitors which are painted in the shades of red, ochre, white and black. It is alleged that hundreds of designs were also created on the outer walls of the shelters which might have been erased by sunlight and rain. These early paintings depict the instances of ancient lifestyle such as men riding cattle, women dancing, warriors marching and hunting scenes portraying rhino, hump-less cattle, and deer being chased and hunted with arrows.


Other ancient sites near Chaturbhujnath nala rock shelters


Just 5 kms from Bhanpura is a hill known as "Dar Ki Chattan". The site features almost 560 man-made cupules marked on the walls. It is supposed to be the earliest efforts of artistic expression by the human. According to many archaeologists and scholars, these cup marks are anywhere between 1,00,000 to 2,00,000 years old. Other rock-art sites in the region that existed in the ancient times and used by ancient humans are Chiber Nala, Sita Khardi and Modi. But, the most prominent and well protected till date is the site of Chaturbhujnala.


It is always enthralling for travellers to go on an impromptu voyage to places that are just off the map. Chaturbhujnala shelters in one such wonder including the Hinglajgarh Fort, Hinglaj Mata Temple, Chaturbhujnala Temple and Gandhi Sagar Reservoirs in the nearby regions of prolific Bhanpura which will leave you awestruck with its richness and glory.