Ancient caves located in the twin cities of Udaygiri and Khandagiri of Odisha (Orissa) state
Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves
Location: 7-8 km from Bhubaneswar
Time of establishment: 2nd century BC
Orissa is known for its ancient caves located in the twin cities of Udaygiri (meaning the hill of the sunrise) and Khandagiri (meaning the broken hill).
Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are partly natural and partly artificial caves of archaeological, historical and religious importance. These caves have a number of finely and ornately carved caves. It is believed that most of these caves were carved out huge residential blocks for the Jain monks, during the reign of King Kharavela. Udayagiri has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves.
They are situated near the capital city of Bhubaneswar. Udaygiri caves are approximately 135 ft high and Khandagiri caves are 118 ft high. The caves are evocative of influence of Buddhism and Jainism in Orissa. The origin of the rock cut caves of Udaygiri and Khandagiri dates back to the 2nd century BC. The main attraction of these caves consists of its stupendous carvings. Of all the caves in Udaygiri, the largest one is the Rani Gumpha or the Queen’s Cave. The cave of the queen is adorned with elaborate carvings. There is also an Elephant Cave or the Hathi Gumpha, where we can find the amazing statues of elephants installed on the gate. In the Khandagiri city, one can find a large number of caves and most of them have been occupied for meditative purposes.