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Udayagiri and Khandagiri are the two hills located in Odisha near Bhubaneswar city. The two caves Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves has derived its name from these two hills. Both these caves possess antique monuments from bygone Indian culture and are 150-200 meters apart. These two caves belong to Jain rock cut temples and are carved by the Jain monks from the reign of King Kharavela. These two caves are not only pieces of evidence of ancient architectural but also bear love messages, religious tolerance, and compassion. The two caves relate to the 1st century and are as wonders of India. It is said that the monks resided under hard conditions but still they were able to create intricate and stunning sculptures which depicted ordinary life, religious symbols, courts and royalty of society.

Udayagiri  Caves photoPhotos by souravdas

The Udayagiri and Khandagiri sandstone caves bear evidence to India’s renowned past. King Kharavela was considered as one of the best-known kings. The historian named Stirling brought these caves into notice to the public.

How To Reach

These two caves can be easily reached through various modes of transportation. From Bhubaneshwar city shared or private cabs can be hired to visit the hills. Bhubaneshwar is the nearest railway junction and airport from the hills. In Bhubaneshwar luxury and budget accommodation can be found.

List Of Caves At Udayagiri

The word Udayagiri means sunrise hill. In Udayagiri there are 18 caves. The largest and majestic cave is The Queens or The Rani Gumpha cave which is cave 1. Many terraces and columns support this two-storied monastery. The sculptures of musical instruments, royal entourage, and dancing women are seen here. There are 7 doors for entrance on the lower floor while there are 9 columns on the upper floor. For theatre and chants performances of Samaja celebration, this cave was used. An image of chariot ride by Surya is also seen here. Cave 2 is Bajaghara Gumpha cave which has two large built front columns and inner columns. Cave 3 is Chota Hathi Gumpha which contain elegant solace with elephants beside the front door. Cave 4 is Alkapuri Gumpha which is double storied is also seen here which has heavenly creatures and elephants sculptures apart from treasures and ornaments. Cave 5 is Jaya Vijaya Gumpha which has double storied. Some columns are built while some are rock cut. Cave 6 is Panasa Gumpha which has two columns built. A sanctum with ochre art is near the cave. Cave 7 is Thakurani Gumpha which is also double storied. Here some columns are built while some are rock cut. It also contains solace carving with flying animals. Cave 8 is Patalapuri Gumpha which is roughly cut. At verandah of this cave, there are two columns. Flying beings are depicted in the columns.

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Udayagiri  Caves photoPhotos by dalbera

Cave 9 is Mancapuri Gumpha which is double storied. There are four columns in the lower floor. There are several solace inscriptions and sculptures here. Cave 10 is Ganesa Gumpha which is famous for its carved stones. Jain Tirthankara carving is also seen here. People in inscription and action are some interesting scenes found here. This cave has a verandah and low ceilings. Cave 11 is Jambesvara Gumpha which has two door openings with low cell and the entrance has two pilasters and one column. It is believed that this cave belongs to the wife of Mahamade, named Nakyia. Cave 12 is Vyaghra Gumpha which is an unusual small temple cave. It is believed that this cave belonged to Sabhuti, the town judge. The entrance door is shaped like the head of animals. Cave 13 is Sarpa Gumpha which is also a small unusual cave. Cave 14 is Hathi Gumpha also know as elephants cave. Cave 15 is Dhanaghara Gumpha carved with the sculpture of gate keeper. Cave 16 is Haridasa Gumpha, Cave 17 is Jagammath Gumpha and Cave 18 is Rosai Gumpha. All these caves are roughly cut small caves.

List Of Caves At Khandagiri

Khandagiri Caves photoPhotos by Ben Sutherland,

Coming down to Khandagiri hill, there are somewhat 15 caves here. The Jaina Khandagiri caves are encroached by the local Brahmins converting into Hindu shrines. Cave 1 is Tatowa Gumpha whose name is after the parrots which are carved above the entrance. The entrance of this cave is richly decorated and guarded by 2 lions and 2 bulls. Cave 2 is also named Tatowa Gumpha No.2. Cave 3 is Ananta Gumpha which contains sculptures of athletes, elephants, and women. Cave 4 is Tentuli Gumpha whose entrance is carved with portals. Cave 5 is Khandagiri Gumpha which is roughly cut double storeyed cave. Cave 6 is Dhyana Gumpha which is also the roughly cut cave. Cave 7 is Navamuni Gumpha whose wall is carved with sculptures of Ganesh, Sasana Devis, and Jain Thirthankar. Cave 8 is Barabhuji Gumpha which is carved with Sasana Devis and Jain Thirthankar. This cave also contains rock cut footprints. The cave has solace depicting various Hindu Deities. Cave 9 is Trusula Gumpha, Cave 10 is Ambika Gumpha. Cave 11 is Lalatendukesari Gumpha whose rear wall is carved with the solace of Jain Thirthankaras, Parsvanatha, and Mahavira. The names of Cave 12, Cave 13 and Cave unknown. Cave 14 is Ekadasi Gumpha which is also a simple cell. The caves in Khandagiri depicts Digambara Jain in praying postures.

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The caves at Udayagiri and Khandagiri are open throughout the year right from the time of sunrise till sunset. These caves can be visited at any time throughout the year while the best season to visit both the caves is October- March. Some amount of entry fee is charged by the visitors to enjoy the scenic beauty of the caves. Entry fees for the children below 15 yrs are not charged any amount, while the Indian citizens are charged INR 5 per person. The visitors from the states Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Afganistan are also charged INR 5 per person. Visitors from other countries are charged INR 100 per person.

Lastly, it can be said that two hills are one of the most visited tourist spots in eastern India.

Udayagiri And Khandagiri Caves – Odisha

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