Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves – An Emblem of Art And Culture

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves – An Emblem of Art And Culture

India is famous for its magnificent artistic works since bygone ancient period. Udayagiri & Khandagiri caves are a significant example of it. Holding the rich history of the past, the art, portrayed on the rocks is the reason for its high tourist attraction. Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves – An Emblem of Art And Culture
A few distances away from the town the twins stone Hills on both side of the road contains excavated Rock cut caves which are known as Lena in the inscription.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Must visit place in Orissa
View of Udayagiri Cave from the top of Khandagiri Cave

From the inspiration in Brahmins script, it came in the highlight – these caves are actually from the time of Chakravarti king of Chedi dynasty, Kharavela.

In early period both caves jointly known as Kumaragiri. Later it gets divided and named as Udayagiri signifies “Rising Hills” and Khandagiri signifies “Broken Hill”.

These caves provide the vivid view of the early era where the saints came to meditate and try to achieve the superpower.

Moreover, the documentation said that in the past there were all total 752 Caves. But today the number of caves gets diminished and only 33 caves are present– Udayagiri has 18 Caves and Khandagiri has 15 Caves.

Most of the caves carved by Jain monks during the reign of king Kharavela and some are natural.

Udayagiri Cave:

When we entered the Udayagiri, the formation of the cave made us astonished. In the front of the cave, the name “Udayagiri”, nicely made by the small flowering plants.
There are 2 ways to go upside of the cave…one is a sloping path and the other is kind of rock climbing.
We took the sloping option because of our family members.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Must visit place in Orissa
Hathi Gumpha (Elephant’s Cave, Cave No. 14)

As we went up a big cave, Hathi Gumpha (Cave 14, Elephant’s Cave), along with 6 great columns, 3 in each row were standing straight right in front of us. It looked like these columns were holding up the whole cave on their shoulders.

This is one of the most significant caves in Udayagiri – due to its enormous contribution through Hathi Gumpha Inscription.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Must visit place in Orissa
Carved Statue of Elephant

Besides these, the two stone carvings of the elephant sculptures are standing in front of the Varendah. The terrace of the cave portrays the story of the Mahabharata and also the war between the emperor of Kalinga and Ashoka.

We headed towards the left and an enormous tiger face with an open mouth shaped cave pops up, known as Bagha Gumpha (Cave 12, Tiger Cave). The doorway, ornamented with the arched element. According to the inscription, this was the cave of town-judge Subhuti.

We managed to elevate further by rock climbing and reached the top of the cave.  The scenic beauty of the whole city from the top of the cave was a mesmerizing one.

We just fell in love with the beauty of nature – white puffy clouds floating in the vast blue sky.

We took some beautiful pictures of the surrounding. Far away we noticed a white temple located on the top of the Khandagiri Hill, looked so majestic.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Must visit place in Orissa
Ganesh Gumpha (Cave No. 10)

We take a leave from the top. Again follow the steps and reached in the front of Ganesh Gumpha. (Cave 10) contains 2 dwelling cells as well as a benched Verandah in the front. The arched doorway of the cells above the railing, relieved with the scenes like abduction scenes reminding that of cave 1. The fame of this cave due to the relief of Ganesha carved on the rear wall. You can easily recognize it through the statue of two royal elephants standing outside the verandah.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Must visit place in Orissa
Rani Gumpha (Cave 1, Rani ka Naur, Queen’s Cave, Queen’s Palace Cave)

Next, we headed towards one of the most significant caves of Udayagiri is Rani Gumpha (Cave 1, Rani ka Naur, Queen’s Cave, Queen’s Palace Cave) is a double layered cave having 9 columns. Here the queens used to came to help the saints in their meditation. The wall of the cave, ornamented by the carvings of the classical dance and musical instruments. Within the carvings, there are different symbols of engraved Jain.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Must visit place in Orissa
Top view of Udayagiri Cave

Besides these eminent caves, there are further 14 small and medium shaped caves. All the caves, festooned with the sculptures of different animals, culture, story of wars and lots more.

Names of Caves at Udayagiri :

Cave Number Cave Name Cave Number Cave Name
1 Rani Gumpha 10 Ganesa Gumpha
2 Bajahara Gumpha 11 Jambesvara Gumpha
3 Chota Hathi Gumpha 12 Vyaghra Gumpha
4 Alkapuri Gumpha 13 Sarpa Gumpha
5 Jaya-Vijaya Gumpha 14 Hathi Gumpha
6 Panasa Gumpha 15 Dhanaghara Gumpha
7 Thakurani Gumpha 16 Haridasa Gumpha
8 Patalapuri Gumpha 17 Jagammath Gumpha
9 Mancapuri Gumpha 18 Rosai Gumpha

Hathigumpha Inscription:

Along with the name of Udayagiri caves, the inscription which came up in the focus is the Hathigumpha inscription. This inscription provides the valuable evidence left by Kharavela, greatest emperor of Kalinga in the first century BC.

Moreover, through inscription, we came to know about the mantras of the Jain dash–Namokar Mantra.

 After exploring the beauty of the Udayagiri cave we turned up to visit the Khandagiri cave.

Just crossing the road before entering the Khandagiri Cave our eyes got stuck in a coconut shop. We took a quick refreshing drink and have the sweetest coconut broth ever.

Finishing our drink we headed towards the Khandagiri.

Stay with us for the travel story at Khandagiri Cave (part 2).

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