Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves

Located about 8 kms west of Bhubaneswar is the twin hills of Udayagiri (Kumarigiri or Sunrise Hill') and Khandagiri (Kumaragiri or broken hills) facing each other across the road. Built by King Kharavela, the 135 feet high Udaygiri having 18 caves and 118 feet high Khandagiri with 15 caves are reminiscent of influence of Buddhism and Jainism in Orissa that reveal the sculptural art of the 2nd century BC. The major attractions of these caves are their wonderful carvings adorned with stone sculptures and most of them are named according to the carvings on the walls. A flight of steps and an ancient ramp rising gradually from the foot of the hill paves the access towards these caves.

Udayagiri Caves - Udayagiri (also spelled as Udaygiri), consists of both natural and man made caves. Of the 18 caves in Udayagiri, the largest and the most beautiful is the double-storeyed Cave 1 known as Rani Gumpha or Queen's Cave which is located at the base of the hill to the right. It has eight entrance points and exquisitely sculpted pillars, which are joined with the inflated arches. The facade of the elephant Cave or the Chota Hathi Gumpha is adorned with marvelous statues of six vigorous elephants. Other interesting caves of Udayagiri are Alakapuri Gumpha, Jaya Vijaya Gumpha, Manchapuri and Swargapuri, Ganesh Gumpha, Bagh Gumpha or Tiger cave, Hathi Gumpha or Elephant Cave, Pavana Gumpha or Cave of Purification and Sarpa Gumpha or Serpent Cave.

Khandagiri Caves - Believed to be inhabited by Jain scholars and hermits during the ancient periods, Khandagiri Caves are exquisitely designed with beautiful paintings and motifs. Caves 1, known as the Tatowa Cave (Parrot caves) is very arresting with the carved figures of birds on doorway arches. Cave 2 has some ancient Brahmi script engraved on its walls and Cave 3 contains awesome pictures of elephants, women and a bird carrying flowers. Among the Khandagiri caves, Ganesh Cave and Barabhuji Cave with illustrations of 24-Tirthankaras along with Sasanadevis is the most interesting caves. Other interesting caves are Ajanta Gumpha, Ananta Gumpha or Snake Cave, Navamuni Gumpha, Barabhuji Gumpha etc. Most of the Khandagiri caves are used for meditative purposes. Atop Khandagiri hill, one can also find an 18th century Jain temple dedicated to Lord Mahavira. 

The Udayagiri Caves and Khandagiri Caves  are open from 8 am to 6 pm. Entry fees are Rs 5/- for Indians and Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) and Rs 100/- or US $2.00 for foreigner. Children below 15 years are enter the cave without any fee. 

  Nearby Attractions
›› Khandagiri Mela
›› State Handicrafts Museum
›› Tribal Museum
›› Orissa State Museum
›› Dhauligiri Hill
›› Kalinga Mahotsav
 Picture Gallery
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