A cave, which is of great archaeological interest and could hold immense tourism potential, has been discovered at Patni village of Raisen district in Madhya Pradesh. The one-mile long cave known as Mrigendranath cave sits underneath the green and partially rocky hill of Patni village. Locals had known it for long as a religious site where Hindu sages and ascetics used to come for meditation. However, it has recently been acknowledged as an important archaeological site, prompting officials of archaeological department. After walking 100 metres down into the cave, it becomes so narrow that only one person can walk at a time literally clinging along the wall. As one moves deeper in the cave it feels as if one is walking in a pitch-dark, narrow and air-conditioned tunnel.
However the cave becomes wider in the middle and there is enough room to seat about one thousand people there. This wide space in the middle of the cave has been a favourite place for Hindu sages to mediate and perform rituals in front of the dhooni (holy fire). There are some paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses on the wall and some rocks resembling animal figures. After visiting the cave, Sharma said he would do his best to develop it as a tourism spot and facilitate basic infrastructure at the site. ” We will do everything possible for the development of the hill and the cave from the point of archaeology. However, it has a great potential of tourism. World tourism will be attracted to this. This place should be developed from the tourism point of view, the entrance of the cave should be more open and convenient and the place should be more reachable and there should be basic facilities installed at the place,” he added. Kapoor Singh, a villager who is the most frequent visitor of the cave, even after coming here on and off for over two decades had admits that he still hasn’t explored the cave fully and doesn’t know where it ends or leads to. × “I know the cave since 1984-85. Many sages used to come here to this cave. I stayed with them. Basically they discovered this and there are many images of Hindu gods and goddesses in the cave,” he said. Experts are working to ascertain the period the cave belonged to even though a large circle of archaeologists link it to the prehistoric period. According to some experts the cave could be deemed a world heritage site like the Bhimbetka cave, which is only 80 kilometres away from it. It will be studied whether there was any link between the two caves or the people who used them. Both the caves are in Raisen district. “It seems, primitive man used to live in large groups. In the other Bhimbetka cave primitive man lived in smaller groups. But after seeing this cave, it seems they lived here in a community,” said DK Mathur, Archaeological department official. The newly-discovered cave is expected to boost tourism in the state which boasts of other sites of historical importance.