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Udaygiri Khandagiri
 
Udaygiri
 

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are partly natural and partly artificial caves of archaeological, historical and religious importance near the city of Bhubaneswar in Orissa, India. The caves are situated on two hills Udayagiri and Khandagiri, mentioned as Kumari Parvat in Hathigumpha inscription and face each other across the road. They have a number of finely and ornately carved caves.

It is believed that most of these caves were carved out huge residential blocks for the Jain monks, during the reign of King Kharavela. Udayagiri meaning Sunrise Hill, has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves.

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 ascetics. The most important of this group is Ranigumpha in Udayagiri which is a double storeyed monastery.

Unfortunately, a number of the Jaina caves on the Khandagiri side have encroachment problems, with local Brahmins turning them into Hindu shrines and covering up some of the Jaina iconography.

Count of the caves

B.M. Barua , basing on a reading of line 14 of the Hathigumpha inscription declared that altogether one hundred and seventeen caves were caused to be excavated by Kharavela and others on the Kumari hill (Udayagiri). Marshall has counted more than 35 caves in both the hills, while M.M. Ganguli has enumerated only twenty seven caves.

The number of existing caves may be counted at Udayagiri as eighteen, while Khandagiri present only fifteen excavation. The local names of the existing caves are present below and those are numbered according to the enumeration of the Archaeological Survey of India.

The famous caves

In Udayagiri, Hathigumpha (cave 14) and Ganeshagumpha (cave 10) are especially well known due to art treasures of their sculptures and reliefs as well as due to their historical importance. Rani ka Naur (Queen's Palace cave, cave 1) is also an extensively carved cave and elaborately embellished with sculptural friezes. Khandagiri offers a fine view back over Bhubaneswar from its summit. The Ananta cave (cave 3) depicts carved figures of women, elephants, athletes, and geese carrying flowers.

 
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    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udayagiri_and_Khandagiri_Caves
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