Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves, Bhubaneswar Odisha were a part of the next destination on my list. I knew that the caves are a combination of artificial and natural structures and hold historical, religious as well as archaeological importance. The caves find a mention in the inscription of Hathigumpha in the name of Kumari Parvat. I had to hire a car to reach the caves located as a part of two neighboring hills namely Khandagiri and Udayagiri. The scene of the caves with the sun setting in the background cannot be described in words. I had to pay an entry fee of just Rs 5 in order to explore the beautifully crafted caves. However, I learnt that foreigners had to pay Rs 100 for the same.
Despite this fact, I could see many foreigners gaping in amaze at the jaw dropping beauty of the caves. Each cave had a number so that people could easily differentiate one from the other. I discovered many beautifully and decoratively carved caves. I found out from the driver that these caves came into existence as a result of Jain monks who decided to reside there when King Kharavela ruled the area. I was simply excited to have a close look at the 18 caves in Udaygiri and the 15 caves in Khandagiri.
I started with the cave no.1 named as Queen’s Palace or as they locally call it, Rani ka Naur. It was large in size and I could see the sculptural friezes very clearly as they were embellished elaborately. The manner in which Ranigumpha, a monastery having two storeys and a part of the Udayagiri caves, was dug out was simply mind boggling. I also visited the Ganeshgumpha which was numbered as 10 and Hathigumpha numbered as 14 and saw the art treasures in the form of reliefs and sculptures. After exploring the caves in Udayagiri, I went to the peak of Khandagiri as I wanted to see the exquisite view of Bhubaneswar from a distance. There was the Ajanta Cave numbered as 3 which represented structures of athletes, geese with flowers, women and elephants. I was left spell bound by the marvellous Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves, Bhubaneswar Odisha.