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Home >> Buddhist Caves in India >> Udaigiri Caves, Orissa

Udaigiri Caves, Orissa


These caves are found in the hills, which are 6 km from Bhubaneshwar. One can reach these caves from Bhubaneshwar by bus or autorickshaw.These are the two hills facing each other across the road. The caves on the two low hills of Udayagiri and Khandagiri give ample proof of Jain and Buddhist occupation of the region at least by the 2nd century B.C.
Khandagiri means "broken hill" and Udayagiri means "hill of the sunrise." These two hills rise 40m above the surrounding lateritic and infertile plain. The Archaeological survey of India has carried out major repair work-like supporting vital features of the caves and protecting important carvings of these coarse grained sandstone caves. Sandstone is not very sturdy and digging in these hills to make the caves have made them susceptible to damage.

The inscriptions on some of the rock surfaces, especially that above Hathi Gupha, (Elephant cave No.14) throw light on the fact a dynasty known as chedis who ruled the region of Kalinga from their capital probably, identifiable with the site of Sisupalgarh, 9 km south-east of Khandgiri.

Later on these caves were retouched and even reconstructed during the Kharvela dynasty. Probably all the caves now found were constructed in the 150 years preceding the birth of Christ.
Most of these caves were chiseled in these sandstone hills for the Jain monks, who had renounced the world to meditate in peace and quiet and to do austere penance. The caves therefore inside one bore with no concessions to any form of comfort, other than to give basic dry shelter. They are just steeping compartments, which are cramped and low scoffed.

Jain occupation was continuos throughout the successive Buddhist and Hindu periods in the region even though after the fall of the Kharavelas' Dynasty the royal patronage finished. On the summit of Khandagiri hill stands the 19th century "Parsvnath" temple.

These caves are 6 km from Bhubaneshwar town. One can come here by bus, autorickshaw, taxi and even bicycle for the enterprising is an option to reach here.

Entry timing
As it gets very crowded, access to these caves is now restricted. Entry is from 0800-1800 hrs. Along the way upto the hills one comes across monkeys. If you feed them fruits and peanuts, they will pester you, so suit yourself.

Climate
Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves are 6 km from Bhubaneshwar and its climate is the same as that of Bhubaneshwar. Temperature between October to March is around (25oC) during the day. An ideal time to visit is after March. The maximum temperature rises steadily and rises upto 95oF and more. The temperature is 35o C or more during summer until the monsoon rains bring relief to the parched earth and the temperature dips. Monsoon strikes during late May or early June. Winters are cold and usually dry. Rainfall maximum 943mm, minimum 54mm.

Clothing
Cotton/light clothes during summer and woolen during winters.

Seasons
Majority of the people here speaks "Oriya", and a few speak Hindi and English.

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