Udayagiri in Odisha is a perfect example of architectural masterpiece in India. In fact you can define it as a unique blend of natural bliss and human architecture.
The place is of huge architectural and historical importance owing to the Buddhist monasteries, stupas and ruins of Jain architecture that have been excavated here.
Commonly known as ‘Sunrise Hills' it is located 85 km from Bhubaneswar and attracts a large number of tourists to witness the extensive sculpture and inscriptions that are carved out in the site.
Udayagiri consists of 18 caves and Khandagiri has 15 caves. Both Udayagiri and Khandagiri ascertain a prominent pedestal of pride for the Udayagiri tourism.
Other than these two hills, Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri is also famous for their Buddhist sites. Here is a guide to the many attractions that tourists can head to in Udayagiri.
The Udayagiri Caves are located on picturesque Langudi hills in Odisha. It has a total of 18 caves that are kept under high protection by Archeological Survey of India.
These caves are unique masterpieces of ancient architecture, built by King Kharavela for residential purposes of the Jain monks.
It has to be noted that the Udayagiri Caves date back to the 2nd century BC. Magnificently carved and very vividly sculpted, these caves are a major center of attraction for many tourists.
The caves of the Jain monks at Udayagiri.
Photo Courtesy: Subhodeepmukherjee1985
The Khandagiri Caves are situated adjacent to the Udayagiri Caves at a distance of around 15 to 20 mt. It can be reached through a flight of steps and the caves are ready to take the visitors on a ride to the glorious bygone era.
It has a total of 15 caves which were mainly built for the residential purpose of the monks. Believed to be 2000 years old, these caves bear several inscriptions and sculptures on their walls.
Embellished with several rock cut paintings and exquisite motifs these caves can easily impress visitors. On top of this majestic hill there is a beautifully carved and sculpted Jain Temple, which dates back to 18th century.
Inscriptions etched onto the cave walls at Khandagiri.
Photo Courtesy: Kamalakanta777
The Buddhist Complex in Odisha is located on the various hills of Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Dhauligiri. Among these, the one present in Dhauligiri, located 14 km away from Udayagiri is considered to be the most important one.
Dhauligiri is believed to be a place where the famous Kalinga war was fought and where Emperor Ashoka adopted Buddhism in the quest to find the real truth of life, after leaving the chase for supremacy.
Several inscriptions, rock edicts, Stupas and Buddha's sculptures excavated from this place indicate the fact that Ashoka was strongly inclined towards Buddhism. Travellers coming here can explore these buddhist complex and also learn more about the religion here.
View of the Buddhist Complex at Uayagiri.
Photo Courtesy: Anupam Manur
Ratnagiri is located far away from the hustle and bustle of the city and was a secluded and serene location chosen by Buddhist monks for meditation purpose.
Situated in the river valley of Brahmani and Birupa, Ratnagiri also treasures the remains of a large Stupa. Many Buddhist devotees as well as tourists come here to experience the divinity of Buddhism present in the ambience of Ratnagiri.
Rock cut Stupas of Ratnagiri.
Photo Courtesy: Mmohanty
How to Reach Udayagiri
By Air: The nearest airport to Udayagiri is the Biju Patnaik International Airport airport at Bhubaneswar, located at a distance of around 100 km. This airport is connected to all the domestic airports of the country.
By Train: Nearest railhead to Udayagiri is Cuttack Railway Station which is at a distance of around 258 km. This station is one of the major rail junctions of the state and hence connected to all major cities of Odisha.
By Road: Tourists can board a bus from anywhere in Odisha and reach Krushnadaspur, the bus stop for Udayagiri and Ratnagiri. Buses available here are all deluxe and semi-delux ones.