Odisha – Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves
Recently, I had a chance to visit Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. The city is filled with lots of historical and heritage sites to see. One of the must visit places are Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves. They call it as twin hills, since the two caves face each other across the road. These caves are partly natural and partly archaeological people made. Some carved caves built during 1st or 2nd century BC. It seemed most of these caves were carved out for Jain monks during the reign of King Kharavela. These two caves represent one of the earliest Jain rock-cut architecture.
Udayagiri is referred as “Sunrise Hill” and it has 18 caves and Khandagiri has 15 caves. There will be lots of climbing to see all the caves. There are guides available on the site. They can explain the history behind the caves. If you would like to see all the caves in detail, it might take 2 to 3 hours and it has to be covered by foot. The entry ticket varies for Indian residents and foreigners. It’s better to visit in the evening time, since the morning time would be really hot and it would be difficult to climb, if you are not used to humidity.
The famous caves are Rani Gumpha (cave 1), Hathi Gumpha (cave 14) and Ganesha Gumpha (cave 10). Rani means Queen and Rani Gumpha is called as “Cave of the Queen“. It’s the largest cave. This cave is double storeyed. There are some sculptures of wild animals, trees and human figures. Some of the carvings are disfigured. The next important cave is Ganesha Gumpha, there is a carved figure of Ganesha on the cave. The cave has two big statues of elephants at the entrance. There are some carvings, like men and women are carrying flowers on the pillars. The other important cave is Hathi Gumpha, Hathi means Elephant. There are some inscriptions about the history of Kharavela. There is Sarpa Gumpha, Sarpa means Snake. There are some inscriptions of snake found in the cave.
Hope you have enjoyed reading it. Happy Travelling 🙂