Udayagiri & Khandagiri Caves, Bhubaneswar - Timings, History, Best Time to Visit

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Bhubaneswar): 9 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 2-3 Hours

Place Location: At Khandagiri

Transportation Options: Cab / Auto

Travel Tips: None

At a distance of 9 km from Bhubaneswar Railway Station, Udayagiri & Khandagiri are two ancient Jain rock-cut caves located in the vicinity of Bhubaneswar. Called as twin hills caves, these caves are one of the most popular places to visit in Bhubaneswar and also one of the best places of heritage in Odisha.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves have derived their names, owing to their location on two hills, Udayagiri and Khandagiri. Mentioned as Kumari & Kumara Parvatas in Hathi Gumpha inscription, the two caves face each other across the road. These two hills represent one of the earliest groups of Jaina rock-cut architecture in eastern India in the field of architecture, art and religion. The caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri, called Lena in the inscriptions, were dug out mostly during the reign of Kharavela for the abode of Jaina monks during 1st century BC. These caves were first brought to the notice by A. Stirling in 1825 AD.

There are total 33 rock-cut caves on both the hills out of which 18 caves are excavated on Udayagiri hill while 15 are on the Khandagiri hill. The name Udayagiri means Hill of Sunrise. The Rani Gumpha or the Queen's Cave is the largest and the architectural marvel of the entire complex. It is a two storied monastery supported by many columns and terraces. The cave contains beautiful sculptures of dancing women, royal entourage, and musical instruments. In Udayagiri, Hathi Gumpha (Cave 14) and Ganesha Gumpha (Cave 10) are especially well known due to their sculptures and reliefs as well as due to their historical importance. Hathi Gumpha contains carved chronicles of King Kharavela's reign - the famous Hathi Gumpha inscription.

Of the 15 Caves in Khandagiri, Ananta Gumpha (Cave 3) is the most impressive one. The cave is named after carvings of two serpents on the entrance. The carvings on the walls of the cave depict figures of women and children, athletes, lions, bulls and many other animals. The Navamuni Gumpha (Cave 7) carries sculptures depicting 9 Jain Tirthankaras while the Barabhuji Gumpha has two relief images of twelve armed Sasana Devis. There are few Tirthankara sculptures also found in this cave. Khandagiri offers a fine view of Bhubaneswar from its summit.

Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM

Entry Fee: Rs. 15 for Indians & Rs. 200 for Foreigners