ଉଦୟଗିରି ଓ ଖଣ୍ଡଗିରି ଗୁମ୍ଫା

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves - Gumpha - Kattaka Caves - Cuttack Caves


Useful Information

Location: Khandagiri-Chandaka Rd, Khandagiri, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751030.
7 km west of Bhubaneswar city centre.
(20.262543, 85.784659)
Open: All year daily 8-17.
[2022]
Fee: Adults INR 25, Citizen of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries INR 25, Foreigners INR 300, Children (0-14) free.
Online Tickets: Adults INR 20, Citizen of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries INR 20, Foreigners INR 250.
[2022]
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Light:  
Dimension:  
Guided tours:  
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: Dr R P Mohapatra (ny): Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves
Address: Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Khandagiri-Chandaka Rd, Khandagiri, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751030, Tel: +91-674-243-2177.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1st century BC excavated.

Description

The ଉଦୟଗିରି ଓ ଖଣ୍ଡଗିରି ଗୁମ୍ଫା (Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves) are a huge number of artificial caves and cave temples of Jain and Buddhist origin. They are named after the twin hills of Khandagiri (Sunset Hill) and Udayagiri (Sunrise Hill) in Bhubaneswar city. They were formerly called Kattaka Caves or Cuttack Caves, a name which included both groups of caves. The caves were built since the 1st century BC as residential caves for Jaina monks during the reign of King Kharavela. Today Udayagiri has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves, but the number of cave changed continually, mostly because they were differently counted. The caves are today divided by Khandagiri Temple Road.

The Udayagiri caves are more beautiful and better maintained. Notable is ଅନନ୍ତ ଗୁମ୍ଫା ଖଣ୍ଡଗିରି (Ananta Gumpha, Ananta Cave) with its carved figures of elephants and women. ହାତୀଗୁମ୍ଫା ଶିଳାଲେଖ (Hathigumpha Inscription) is an impressively chiseled inscription in the flattened rock face of Hathigumpha Cave (Elephant Cave).

A few km west of Bhubaneswar city centre are two hills, facing each other honeycombed with caves, most of which are numbered. Udayagiri or Sunrise hill to the north of the approach road has the most interesting caves which contain some fine sculptures.


Cave No 1 Rani Gupha. This is the largest and most elaborate cave residence of the series. Numerous small cells excavated on two levels around three sides of a large court are sheltered by collapsed colonnades. The cell doorways are embellished with pilasters crowned by animals on the capitals. On the walls flanking the end pilasters are guardian figures, some in foreign dress (upper storey, right wing). The relief arches over the doorways have lotus ornaments; they are connected by a railing frieze. On either side of the arches are carved panels. On the lower storey these represent pious couples and musicians and dancers (side wings), and scenes of nature with birds and animals (corner rooms). On the better-preserved upper storey there are episodes from an unidentified narrative: these depict, left to right, an attendant with a tray; elephants before a man with a club; an attendant woman; a fight between a man and a woman; the abduction of a woman; a riderless horse sheltered by a parasol; a hunter aiming at a winged deer; a hunter with a woman in a tree; and a seated woman with attendants.

Cave Nos 3, 4 and 5 There are elephants carved in relief flank in the arch over the entrance to Cave No 3. In the adjoining two-storey Cave No 4 are sculptures of elephants, lions and pairs of winged animals on column brackets in the upper storey.

Cave 5, which is also two storeyed, is linked with the upper cell of Cave 4. Here, figures are carved on the end pilasters. Above the doorways to the two cells are arches within which there is a depiction of a sacred tree surrounded by a railing.

Cave No 9 This is a complex of cells arranged on two storeys. On the lower level, armed guardians (worn) are carved on to the end pilasters of the verandah. The doorways within are surmounted by relief arches, between which is a scene (damaged) with royal figures worshipping at a shrine. The cave is distinguished by an inscription donated by the Chedi rulers.

Cave No 10, Ganesha Gupha. This is named after the image of the Hindu elephant god which was carved at a later date on to the rear wall of the right cell. In front of the cave are two detached monolithic elephants lifting branches with their trunks. The cave itself consists of two low-roofed cells with four doorways and a verandah. A guardian holding a spear is carved on to the left pilaster; the other pilasters have male or female figures caved on them. Each doorway is surmounted by relief arches between which are depictions of a fight, an abduction and an elopement (similar to the scenes in Cave 1).

Cave No 12. Bagh Gupha. The entrance to this cave is shaped into the semblance of the head of an open mouthed tiger. [Tiger = Bagh]

Cave No 14 Elephant Cave contains a 117 line inscription describing its builder as King Kharaveli of Kalinga who ruled from 168 to 153 BC.


Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.