Udayagiri Caves has archaeological, historical and religious importance. It is in Bhubaneswar in Odisha, India. It is the mixture of artificial and natural beauty. The adjacent Udayagiri and Khandagiri hills are facing each other. Hathigumpha inscription also has its log as Kumari Parvat. So it is also popular with the name kumari parvat.

First of all, let us look into the brief history of the historical beast. History reveals the Jain monks were living in this locality during the reign of King Kharavela.

There are several scriptures in the caves. It is believed that the Jain carved the caves. Udayagiri means the Sunrise Hill. It has 18 caves. On the contrary, the Khandagiri has 15 caves. The lena or leṇa in the inscriptions are the present caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri.

The Hathigumpha and Ganesha gumpha are the heart of their artistic design. These also have the historical importance. So they are important. In addition to this, there is queen’s palace cave, Ananta cave is popular for the sculpture and art. The Queen’s Palace Cave is also known as Rani ka Naur. Another important aspect is the Ananta cave has figures of women, hunters, geese with flowers.

Caves At Udayagiri

  1. Rani gumpha
  2. Bajaghara gumpha
  3. Chota Hathi gumpha
  4. Alkapuri gumpha
  5. Jaya-vijaya gumpha
  6. Panasa gumpha
  7. Thakurani gumpha
  8. Patalapuri gumpha
  9. Mancapuri gumpha
  10. Ganesa gumpha
  11. Jambesvara gumpha
  12. Vyaghra gumpha
  13. Sarpa gumpha
  14. Hathi gumpha
  15. Dhana gharagumpha
  16. Haridasa gumpha
  17. Jagammath gumpha
  18. Rosai gumpha

The udayagiri caves is better than the khandagiri caves in terms of design, look, maintainance. Let us see all the caves one by one.

Rani Gumpha

Rani gumpha is the largest cave in the Khandagiri hills (Udayagiri and Khandagiri). This is the most popular one. This natural beauty beast had value in ancient age.

Bajaghara Gumpha

Bajaghara Gumpha is a small cave. It has only stone bed and pillow as sculpture. Seems like the Jain monks were using it as the shelter in ancient times.

Chota Hathi Gumpha

Chota Hathi Gumpha is also small in size. The word Chota means small. Hence the name in English ‘small elephant cave’. Furthermore, It has six small elephant figures in the facade.

Alkapuri Gumpha

Alkapuri Gumpha is a double storeyed cave. It has a sculpture of a lion holding its prey in its mouth. The pillars with the human figures (divine beings) with wings are present in this cave.

Jaya Vijaya Gumpha

Jaya Vijaya Gumpha is double storeyed cave much as Alkapuri Gumpha. It has a relief image of Bodhi tree with the umbrella on its top. Furthermore, people are worshiping the same in the sculpture. The word Jaya means victory. So the people might be worshiping the king of that time.

Panasa Gumpha

Panasa Gumpha is quite small. It does not have any significant feature. Therefore it has less significance.

Thakurani Gumpha

The word thakurani means Goddess. Thakurani Gumpha is double storeyed. However, it is a simple cave with few tiny relief sculptures.

Patalapuri Gumpha

Patalapuri Gumpha is a bit bigger. It has a verandah. But, it does not have any significant feature.

Mancapuri and Swargapuri Gumpha

Mancapuri and Swargapuri Gumpha is double storeyed. There is a jain worship symbol present in here. It is partly damaged. In addition to this, there are three inscriptions sculptured in this cave. One inscription reveals about the chief queen of Kharavela. Another two inscriptions talk about Kudepasiri. He is the successor of Kharavela and Badukha. He is the son or brother of Kudepasiri.

Ganesha Gumpha

Ganesha Gumpha is an important cave in Udayagiri. The cave has two big statues of elephants. The elephants are carrying garlands at the entrance. In addition to that, the figures of dwara palas are found at the entrances. The carvings in this cave talk about the story of the elopement of Bassavadatta, Princess of Ujjayini, with King Udayan of Kausambi in the company of Vasantaka.

Jambesvara Gumpha

Jambesvara Gumpha is a very simple and small cave. It has one column and two pilasters. The inscription in here tells that it is the cave of Nayaki. Nayak was the wife of Mahamade.

Vyaghra Gumpha

The word vyaghra means tiger. Vyaghra Gumpha is one of the popular caves in Udayagiri. It has the entrance carves like a large mouth of a tiger. The inscription found here tells that the city judge Sabhuti was living in here.

Sarpa Gumpha

The word sarpa means snake. Sarpa Gumpha is a small cave. There are two inscriptions found in this cave. May be snakes were ruling the cave in ancient time. 

Hathi Gumpha

The word hathi means elephant. It has historical significance. There is inscription about the Kharavela present in here. It is the main source of history of Kharavela. So it does have historical importance. 

Dhanaghara Gumpha

Dhanaghara Gumpha is a small cave. It has two wide pillars. There are Dwarapala sculptures present at the entrance.

Haridasa Gumpha

Haridasa Gumpha is a small cave with three entrances and a verandah in the front side. There is an inscription found here. Tha Jain may be using the varandah to chit chat. 

Jagannatha Gumpha

Jagannatha Gumpha is roughly cut cave. It has three entrances.

Rasui Gumpha

Finally, the Rasui Gumpha is unusually very small cave without any sculpture or major feature.

Note: The data of types of caves is referred from Udayagiri And Khandagiri Caves in Wikipedia.

Best Time To Visit To The Khandagiri Hills

You will enjoy every second at the Khandagiri hills with its divine natural environment. However, you should try to spend some time during the golden hours in photography. That is during the sunrise and sunset. You will be able to get the best result during this time. It is great for shooting portraits, pre-wedding shots, spiritual shots or even documentary.

Here are some of the recommended settings in terms of photography.

Landscape Photography At The Khandagiri Hills

You need to shoot with wide angle lens. You need to set the aperture value to 5.6 – 11 f. It depends upon the environmental light. Then you can set the ISO to 100. Now try to change the shutter speed to get proper exposure.

In case your shot is still dark, do try t to increase the ISO little bit. You need to also keep in mind that you should not go beyond 400 ISO to get noise free images.

Historical Portraits Photography At The Khandagiri Hills

To capture historical portraits you need any prime lens or zoom lens. As the subject here is still low budget zoom lens will work well. You can take tight crop with great detail. You can take some black and white awesome images.

Photography Gear For Udayagiri

  1. Wide Angle Lens ( 10mm to 18mm ) is very helpful as the Udayagiri hill is full of landscape shots. The fisheye lens will help in such scenario. If you have wide lens action camera like Nikon mission 170 or go pro then you do not need wide angle lens. As GoPro is providing a 170-degree view.
  2. The 360-degree camera is a great tool to carry with if you have one. It will be the best way to cover this natural beauty and beast in your presence.
  3. If you do like historical portraits then please carry a prime lens. The focal length is preferably 85mm. However, 50mm lens will also do wonder. As it is cheap and yields great quality images, it is popular among new or pro photographers.

Udayagiri Photo Memories

A Final Note

It was an amazing feeling to spend the morning and evening hours at Udayagiri. Have you ever been to this place? Please tell us in the comment below on how you found the place. Was it boring? Or God damn interesting or peaceful? If you have not visited the place then when are you?

Thank you for visiting.

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