Udaigir Khandagiri caves
Location: 90 km from Bhubaneswar
Time of establishment: 2nd century BC
Orissa is well known for the ancient caves located in the twin cities of Udaygiri (meaning the hill of the sunrise) and Khandagiri (meaning the broken hill). 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 reminiscent 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 you 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.
Some of the popular caves in Khandagiri include Akshay Ganga, Gupta Ganga, Shyam Kund and Radha Kund. One of the most interesting caves is the 24-Tirthankaras Cave. It contains the carvings of the twenty-four Apostles of Jainism, on the monolithic stones. There is another fascinating cave known as the ‘Ganesh Cave’. Udaygiri & Khandagiri caves are one of the famous tourist attractions near the Bhubaneshwar city of India today.