Udayagiri hill is 135 feet tall, which was earlier, called Kumari Parvata whereas 118 feet high Khandagiri hill was known as Kumara Parvata. The hills are located at a distance of around 6 km from Bhubaneswar.
The main attraction of these caves consists of its beautiful carvings. The largest one is the Rani Gumpha or the Queen’s Cave which is all the caves in Udaygiri. The cave of the queen is adorned with elaborate carvings. There is also an Elephant Cave or the HathiGumpha, where you can find the amazing statues of elephants build on the gate.
In the city of Khandagiri, one can find a large number of caves and most of them have been employed for meditative purposes.
The two hills (Udayagiri and Khandagiri), near Bhubaneswar, are located only some 150 – 200 m apart and contain different headstone of ancient Indian culture – Udayagiri Caves and Khandagiri Caves. Udayagiri means “Sunrise Hill”. Udayagiri has almost 18 caves, Khandagiri – 15. There is a maximum of 27 caves.
Most of the caves are natural but some were carved by Jain monks during King Kharavela. Archaeologists have numbered caves, but nearly all have also individual names.
Udayagiri is the hill on the right through which access to its 18 caves is provided. The big and the beautiful, Rani Gumpha orQueen’s Cave, Unearth on three sides of a quadrangle with fine wall decor, and some recently renewed pillars with some beautiful sculptures. The right side of the lower story consists of a single-cell with three entrances and one pillared verandah.
The very popular Hatigumpha caption (elephant cave inscription) which is from Udayagiri cave shows the great sanctity of the locality which was developed by Jain hermits.
- In the first year reign of Kharavela fully repaired the capital of Kalinga, whose gates or towers, ramparts, reservoirs, and buildings, which had been damaged by the storm.
- In the second year, he sent his complete army consisting of infantry, cavalry, chariots, and elephants, to the west in defiance of Satakarni the third king of the Satavahana dynasty, and occupied the city of Mushikas.
- In the third year of his reign, he amused the citizens of Kalinga with theatrical performances, dances, songs, music, processions, and festivals.
Caves Of Udayagiri
The caves in Udayagiri are better known for its several important monuments of history and art:
- Rani Gumpha (Cave 1) Queen’s Cave, Queen’s Palace Cave) is a double storeyed monastery.
- BajagharaGumpha (Cave 2) This cave with two big built columns in the front part, also inner columns are built.
- ChotaHathiGumpha (Cave 3, Small Elephant Cave)Exquisite relief with elephants on both sides of the front door.
- Alkapurigumpha (Cave 4) Double storeyed, part of columns is built. Contains sculpted ornaments and sculptures. Capitals of rock-cut pillars contain exquisite reliefs depicting elephants, some winged creatures, people.
- Jaya-vijayaGumpha (Cave 5) Double storeyed cave, some columns are rock-cut, some built.
- PanasaGumpha (Cave 6) Simple cell with two built columns.
- ThakuraniGumpha (Cave 7) Double storeyed cave, where some columns are rock-cut, some – built. Contains relief carving with winged animals.
- PatalapuriGumpha (Cave 8) Roughly cut cave with two columns at the verandah. Capital of columns adorned with reliefs depicting winged beings.
- MancapuriGumpha (Cave 9, Sargapuri – ManchapuriGumpha) – double storeyed cave. The lower floor has four columns. Several sculptures and reliefs, inscriptions.
- GanesaGumpha (Cave 10) famous due to stone carvings.
- JambesvaraGumpha (Cave 11, JamesvaraGumpha) – a low cell with two plain door-openings and entrance have one column and two pilasters.
- VyaghraGumpha (Cave 12, BaghaGumpha, BaghGumpha) Small cave temple – entrance part is shaped like the enormous head of some animal.
- SarpaGumpha (Cave 13) unusual, a small cave with adornment above the entrance.
- HathiGumpha (Cave 14, Elephant’s Cave) contains carved chronicles of King Kharavela’s reign – the famous HathiGumpha inscription.
- DhanagharaGumpha (Cave 15) – entrance with two massive columns
- HaridasaGumpha (Cave 16, HaridasGumpha) roughly cut cave, verandah with one column.
- JagammathGumpha (Cave 17, JagannathaGumpha) roughly cut cave.
- RosaiGumpha (Cave 18, RasoiGumpha)small cave with a single entrance.
The visitors can find a track to their left leading to the summit of the Khandagiri hill. Following this track for a few meters, which will bring you at Cave 1 and 2, known as TatowaGumpha or Parrot Caves.
Caves Of Khandagiri
Khandagiri hill contains fewer caves. Jaina caves in Khandagiri are increasingly impinged by local Brahmins turning them into Hindu shrines.
- TatowaGumpha (Cave 1) got the name from the depiction of parrots carved above the entrance arch. The cave is richly decorated, adorned with two door-keepers as well.
- TatowaGumpha No.2 (Cave 2) veranda decorated with plasters
- AnantaGumpha (Cave 3) contains exquisite sculptures of women, elephants, athletes, and geese carrying flowers.
- TentuliGumpha (Cave 4) smaller rock-cut chamber, verandah has one column.
- KhandagiriGumpha (Cave 5) double-storeyed, roughly cut cave.
- DhyanaGumpha (Cave 6) roughly cut cell.
- NavamuniGumpha (Cave 7) roughly cut cell, a rear wall adorned with Jain Thirtankaras, SasanaDevis, and Ganesh.
- BarabhujiGumpha (Cave 8) decorate with Jain Thirtankaras and SasanaDevis.
- TrusulaGumpha (Cave 9)
- AmbikaGumpha (Cave 10)
- LalatendukesariGumpha (Cave 11, LalatenduKeshari Cave) rear wall decorate with reliefs of Mahavira, Parsvanatha, Jain Thirtankaras.
- Unknown name (Cave 12)
- Unknown name (Cave 13) rather an overhang – possibly some columns or walls destroyed.
- EkadasiGumpha (Cave 14) simple cell.
How to reach
You can take a taxi or local Auto ( three-wheeler vehicle ) from any part of the Bhubaneswar to reach Khandagiri. 30 to 40 minutes from Railway station. From the Airport it will take 30 minutes. If you are traveling by road then from Southern side Khandagiri square comes before the main city of Bhubaneswar on National Highway No 5.
Located in: Udaygiri & Khandagiri Caves
Nearest Airport: Bhubaneswar
Nearest Railway Station: Bhubaneswar
Best Time to visit: Around the year