It was the time when India inclined towards Buddhist and Jainism philosophy. Approx 2000 year ago, India had many center of Buddhist learning, monks travel from one place to other to spread their philosophy. They used to spend time away from crowd and amidst of nature. Most of the time, they preferred to live in caves. Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves are one such example in Bhubaneswar.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves
A total 33 caves are available today, combining caves on Udayagiri and Khanagiri hill. Most of these caves dug out in the 2nd century BC during the reign of Raja Kharavela while some are naturally formed.
Raja Kharavela was the most notable ruler of Mahameghavahana dynasty that came into existence after fall of Mauryan rule. Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves are the protected monuments and National heritage, maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.
These caves are situated on two adjacent hills Udayagiri and Khandagiri, which was also known Kumari Parvat in ancient time. There are 18 caves on Udayagiri Hill while 15 on Khandagiri hill.
Hathi Gumpha, Ganesh Gumpha and Rani Gumpha are most important among all of the caves. As these caves are on high elevation, exploring these cave also provide you a bird view of Bhubaneswar city. There is a Jain temple on the top of Khandagiri hill.
Entry charge for Udaygiri and Khandagiri cave
There is a little entry charge for Udayagiri and Khandagiri cave of Rupees 10/- for Indians and 10 USD for foreign visitor. Site remains open from Sunrise to Sunset.
Caves of Udaygiri Hill
(Cave no-14)-This is a natural formed cave with large opening of eye shape. It is the first cave you see after climbing up long stair at Udaygiri. There are seventeen lines deep cut inscription found in Brahmi script written by Raja Kharavela that makes it, a cave of historical importance.
(Cave no-10)-– After a little walk in left of Hathi Gumpha, there you will see two elephants sculpture standing in front of a beautifully carved cave. There is a figure of Lord Ganesha carved out on the wall of its right cell.
(Cave no-01)—It is the largest and most popular cave among all the caves. It is a double storey rock-cut cave having veranda on both the floor with seven columns on upper floor and nine columns on lower portion. These cells have some beautiful carved figures of King’s victory march, wild animals, trees, men and women playing musical instruments.
Vyaghra Gumpha (Cave no-12)— Also known tiger cave because of its entrance resemble like open mouth a tiger. It is one of the most photographed caves of Udayagiri.
Caves of Khandagiri Hill
There is a temple on Khandagiri hill, which have image of Jain Tirthankaras, Mahavira and Bhagwan Bahubali. There is one double storied Jain monastery near the temple.
Navamuni Gumpha- It has sculptures of nine Jain Tirthankaras and Sasana Devis
Barabhuji Gumpha-It has twelve armed Sasana Devis. There are few Tirthankara sculptures also there. The Sasana Devis considered to be form of Hindu deity Durga.
Trusula Gumpha- There are three sculptures of Rishabha Deva in the standing posture and 24 rough image of Jain Tirthankaras.
How to reach Udayagiri and Khandagiri cave
Caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri are just 6 km from Bhubaneshwar Rail Junction and very close to Baramunda Bus stand.
Air: Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar is just 7.5 km from theses Khandagiri caves that have good connectivity with other major Indian cities.
Rail: Bhubaneswar junction is major rail head, numerous trains pass through Bhubaneswar on Howrah to Puri or Howrah to South India route.
Road: Lots of AC/ Non-AC Buses ply regularly from other city of Odisha to Bhubaneshwar and main bus stand of Bhubaneswar is just 1 Km away from this site.
Local Transport: For the local transport you can book Auto rickshaw or Ola Cab service.
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