Udaygiri & Khandagiri Caves

A Relic of A Forgotten Chapter of History

About

The caves located 7KM from Bhubaneswar takes us back in time and is probably the only recorded history of era that is still shrouded in mystery. Built somewhere around the 2nd century BC by King Kharavela of the Meghavahana dynasty, widely regarded as the most powerful king in the annals of history of Odisha, these ancient rock cut caves were first discovered by a young British Officer Andrew Sterling in the 19th century AD.

The caves built on the Kumari mountain range were built for the Jain monks and offered them a place to stay and meditate. Out of the one hundred and seventeen caves that were built originally only thirty-three survive till this day. Eighteen caves are located in the Udaygiri hill and fifteen in the Khandagiri hill.

The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is in charge of the Udaygiri caves and it’s a ticketed monument. The major attractions of the Udaygiri caves are

  1. Hathigumpha : or the elephant cave as its known bears the inscriptions of King Kharavela. The seventeen lines mentions about his many conquests and his way of governance.
  2. The Rani Gumpha : or the Queen cave ; is a double storeyed structure with beautiful carvings. Exquisite carvings apart, the cave is known for its acoustic characteristics.
  3. The Ganesh Gumpha : the Ganesha Cave known for its carvings of Jain teerthankar’s and other sculptures. The carving of Lord Ganesha and two elephants were added much later.
  4. The VyagharaGumpha : or the Tiger cave is so called because the entrance is shaped like the head of the tiger and the door shaped like a tiger’s throat

The caves located at the Khandagiri hills doesn’t come under the purview of the ASI.  The major caves of Khandagiri are

  1. Barabhuji Gumpha features the twelve armed Sasana Devi’s facing each other along with Tirthankar sculptures.
  2. Trushula Gumpha – One can find the twenty-four Jain Teerthankar’s carved on the walls of the cave. The sculpture of TirthankarRishab Dev stands out.
  3. Ambika Gumpha - The Yaksha and Yakshini’s of each Tirthankar is carved on the walls of the cave.

The most extraordinary achievement of these beautifully carved caves is that each cave and sculpture was painstakingly carved by hand using basic tools. The architecture and exquisite carving is of top drawer. The carvings drew references from mythology and history. One of the most poignant section of carving is the depiction of the Kalinga War, where women and teenagers are depicted fighting to save their motherland from Ashoka’s army.

The caves served as residences for the Jain monks and were equipped with water source in form a small canal which passes through every cave, an ingenious communication system through holes, a place to light the lamps and the tilted flooring which served as a head rest. Many of the caves are double storeyed and its believed that the upper chambers of the caves were used for deep meditation.

See to Believe

Below is a visual treat of Udaygiri & Khandagiri Caves. Enjoy the immersive experience and experience the 360 degree views and virtual tours which are soon going to enhance your visual journey!

Trails Covering Udaygiri & Khandagiri Caves

Like what you see? Looking to have a well-rounded experience in Odisha? Presenting a list of some curated, pre-packaged tours covering some of the most coveted destinations in Odisha. Browse and see details of the trail/package which interests you the most. Reach out to the Department of Tourism (DoT) recognized travel agents, who are here to provide you with some memorable experiences and moments.

Getting There

  • Nearest Railway Station - Bhubaneswar
  • Nearest Airport Bhubaneswar - Bhubaneswar
  • The caves located at the outskirts of Bhubaneswar is well connected by the city bus service, alternatively one can hire an auto and cab to visit the Udaygiri and Khandagiri caves.

Insider Stories

So, why is Odisha touted as incredible India's Best Kept Secret? What is it about the places, people, landscape, art, culture and history that is so enthralling? What makes Odisha the land of cathartic spiritual experiences, intricate art and immortal architecture regaling timeless tales, beaches, cuisines, landscapes and wildlife? Read through the travelogues, journeys and experiences of many travel enthusiasts who have traversed and fallen in love with the land of Odisha!

Essentials Cheat Sheet

Nearby Destinations

Wish to make the best of your trip to Udaygiri & Khandagiri Caves ? Make sure your itinerary covers these below must-see destinations close to Udaygiri & Khandagiri Caves.Most of these are highly coveted on every tourists bucket list and can be reached from Udaygiri & Khandagiri Caves in a matter of hours. We have found 10 such places close to Udaygiri & Khandagiri Caves that will maximize your Experience-Odisha!

Stay

There's a variety of options for you to stay at. From Star Rated Hotels, Eco Tour Nature Camps equipped with state of the art swiss tents and facilities to OTDC Government Hotels, Bed Breakfasts and Homestays to choose from. Browse the list below to choose your preferred accomodation.

Weather & Climate

Find a Travel Agency/Tour Operator

Below is a list of travel agents/tour operators who are our trusted local specialists. Contact them today to plan a well-rounded trip to Odisha, and for getting the best deals. Their packages cover everything - from the most visited to the off-beat, from ancient to urbane, from mountains to beaches, from city life to stargazing nights. Click on the contact button and get a call back!

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