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Undavalli Caves: An Abode of Wonders

By Akshatha Vinayak

One distant view of Undavalli Caves reminds us of a honeycomb! The rows of small cells positioned in different stories make us curious to explore. Proceeding further on the natures lawn, we hit the large cave complex.

Shall we explore the beautiful Undavalli Caves near Vijayawada?

The construction of Undavalli Caves goes back to 4th - 5th Century AD. We can see a Gupta style of rock-cut architecture similar to Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves in Bhubaneshwar.

Undavalli Caves Near Vijayawada

Undavalli Caves

Ramireddy.y

What is Interesting?

There are many aspects which needs attention here! Firstly, the overall structure resembles that of a Jain architecture andit is said that these caves once served as Jain Viharas and accommodated Jain sadhus. In fact, we can see the sculptures of Thirthankaras and Vihara structure in the first level of Undavalli caves.

Second, the cave structured like Buddhist monasteries with Buddhist carvings. A historical record also mentions that Undavalli Caves was once a site of Bikkhu (Buddhist monks) monastery complex.

Undavalli Caves Near Vijayawada

Statue of Ganesha

Chaitanya Vuddanti

Third, the famous caves of Padmanabhaswamy and Narasimha Swamy. The reclining statue of Padmanabhaswamy is one of the prominent attractions in Undavalli Caves. The credit of building these Hindu cave-temples goes to Vishnukudina Kings.

Therefore, it is evident that Undavalli Caves doesn't belong to one particular religion. It has been occupied and developed by people of different faiths. So, it has served as a spiritual centre for three religions at different time intervals. As a visitor, you get to see the remnants of all three cultures under one roof!

Undavalli Caves Near Vijayawada

Reclining Statue of Vishnu

Ramireddy.y

Interesting Facts about Undavalli Caves!

  • There is a speculation about the reclining statue of Lord Vishnu (Padmanabhaswamy). Some records suggest that this granite statue is a Buddha and not Vishnu. This might be a possibility as there are Buddhist caves and sculptures within Undavalli caves.
  • The largest among Undavalli Caves is the Padmanabhaswamy Temple which has four stories.
  • There is another cave which is dedicated to Hindu Trinities: Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara.
  • The caves are surrounded by greenery which is fed by the Krishna River.
Undavalli Caves Near Vijayawada

Statue of Lord Brahma

Chaitanya Vuddanti

How to Reach Undavalli Caves?

Undavalli caves is around 10km from Vijayawada and 40km from the town of Guntur. Undavalli Caves are located on the banks of Krishna River in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

By Bus: There are several state-run buses to reach Vijayawada and Guntur. You can take local transport or private buses to reach Undavalli Caves from Vijayawada or Guntur.

By Train: Vijayawada Railway Station is the nearest railway station.

Undavalli Caves is one of the best weekend getaways from Vijayawada. Exploring one of the oldest rock-cut cave architectures of South India is truly amazing.

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