The Khandagiri and Udayagiri are the two hills located besides each other and is at a distance of 10 Km from main Bhubaneswar railway station. This rock cut hill shrine is merely 6 Km from the Bhubaneswar airport in Orissa and stands proof to the Jain ascetics. The Caves were excavated by king Kharavela and his successors as early as the first century BC.
About The Temple
Udayagiri liyerally means “The Hill of Sunrise”. The Udhayagiri hills have18 caves in total, among which the Rani Gumpha (the Queen’s Cave) is the largest and the most majestic of all caves here. The cave itself is a two storied monastery that is supported by many columns and terraces. It also houses amazing sculptures of dancing women, a royal entourage, and musical instruments. One other prominent cave in this hill is the Alkapuri Gumpha, a double storied cave with columns. This cave is known to have sculptures of elephants and heavenly beings other than ornaments and treasures.
The Ganesa Gumpha is a unique caves with having multiple dwellings and terraces. The cave is well known for the sculpture of Lord Ganesha that is inscribed on the rear wall of the cave. It also features an image of a Jain Tirthankara at worship and few sculptures of elephants. The Vyagraha Ghumpa cave is best known for the beautiful sculpture over its entrance.
The Tatowa Gumphas has an image of a parrot carved over the arches at the entrance. Few inscriptions are also found at this cave with the use of natural colour pigments being evident. The Ananta Gumpha is one other fascinating cave in this complex which has ancient Jain motifs life Swastikas and serpents. The Navamuni Gumpha showcases sculptures of 9 Jain Tirthankaras (seer-sages) and several images of the Digambara Jains at prayer. The Barabhuji Gumpha is named after two sculptures within it having 12 arms each. This cave is also a house to a number of Hindu deities.
Hathi Gumpha Inscription
The most authentic evidence that provides details of the Kalinga king Kharavela’s reign during the 1st century BC, is the inscription found in one of the Udayagiri caves called the Hathi Gumpha. The Elephant Cave inscription elaborates the king’s glory. It starts with the Namokar Mantra – a sacred chant of the Jains and goes on to describe the king in these terms – “the worshipper of all religious orders, the repairer of all shrines of gods”. The inscription has seventeen lines carved in the Brahmi script (an ancient language). What is poignant about this inscription is that it faces rock edicts of King Asoka at Dhauli, some six miles away. The two kings were in fact rivals and factually King Asoka succeeded in conquering Kalinga. Due to the shift of power, the prevalence of Jainism slowly began fading, giving way to the spread of Buddhism in these parts. Other than the Hathi Gumpha inscription, there are numerous minor inscriptions in other caves within these cave complexes.
Legend and Stories
The sandstone caves at Udayagiri and Khandagiri are a solid proof to India’s glorious past. King Kharavela, during whose time these rock cuts were undertaken, was one of the best-known kings of Kalinga. In 1825, a historian named Stirling, brought the existence of these caves to public notice. He also tried translating the inscriptions which was a tantamount task, given the extinction of the Brahmi language in which it was originally carved. However, it was certain that these rock carvings reflected the respect and dedication of the King towards all religions and the love his subject showered on him.
Best Time to Visit
The Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves are open from dawn to dusk (sunrise to sunset) all through the year. The most favorable period is from October to March.
These caves are located quite near to the state capital Bhubaneswar and hence stay can be managed in one of the hotels at Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
How To Reach Khandagiri and Udayagiri caves, Bhubaneswar
A taxi or an Autorickshaw can be hired from any part of Bhubaneswar to reach Khandagiri. It takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes to reach from the Bhuwaneshwar Railway station while about 30 minutes from the Airport.
For those travelling by road, the southern side of Khandagiri square comes before main city of Bhubaneswar on National Highway No 5.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri Cave Temple,
94, Khandagiri-Chandaka Rd,
Odisha, Pincode – 751030.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Wish Fulfillment
Daivi Hyesa Gunamayi Mama Maya Duratyaya Mameva Ye Prapadyante Mayametam Taranti Te
Meaning -According to this sloka, the heavenly maya of God is very complicated, but those who worship God will be able to overcome it.
Balam Balavatam Caham Kamaragavivarjitam Dharmaviruddho Bhutesu Kamo'smi Bharatarsabha
Meaning -According to this sloka, God is the isolated and aloof strength of the controlling and virtuous craving in men.
Ye Caiva Sattvika Bhava Rajasastamasasca Ye Matta Everti Tanviddhi Na Tvaham Tesu Temayi
Meaning -According to this sloka, though the only source of satva, rajas and tamas (good, obsessive and dark) elements is God, they are not present within the God or the deity.
Tribhirgunamayairbhavairebhih Sarvamidam Jagat Mohitam Nabhijanati Mamebhyah Paramavyayam
Meaning -According to this sloka, the entire world doesn't recognize the eternal God beyond them, because they are consumed by the elements of satva, rajas and tamas (good, obssessive and dark).
The temple is open from 6 A.M to 9 P.M