Traced New Tunnel centre of attraction in Odisha’s Khandagiri
Have you ever visited Khandagiri and Udayagiri caves in the temple city? If not here is an opportunity for you to visit the caves of 1st and 2nd centuries BC for after so many years a tunnel has been traced with inscriptions giving the Archaeological Survey of India to explore deep into it and discover.
Much to the amusement of the locals and visitors a cave, which might be a tunnel was found during excavation of a real estate site near the historic caves. Though the opening of the extended tunnel-like structure is little more than 1.5 metres in width, yet it can encompass four persons to stand there. While moving one will notice an eye-shaped opening and peeping through the hole, it appears that there is a hollow space of a few feet more inside.
The tunnel, with its outer portions built with Rangadalima, Baulamala and Khadiakanda stones, though looks like a cave, has a pathway inside. The basement of the tunnel, built with Baulamala stone, has swampy areas inside.
People believe that this tunnel or cave could have been a bunker to hide from enemies or stock weapons and this might have got stretched to the Dhauli hills even. Initial findings shows of human intervention with chisel marks on the walls of the caves.
Just about 7 kms from the centre of Bhubaneswar city are the twin caves of Khandagiri and Udayagiri, perhaps the next major Odishan Historical Monument after Ashoka’s rock- cut edict. Considered the inscriptional evidences the works are from the time of King Kharvela and the caves housed the Jain monks. The ancient names of the twin hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri are Kumara and Kumari parvatas. In total 33 rock-cut, caves are on both the hills out of which 18 caves are in Udayagiri hill while 15 are on the Khandagiri hill with some having double storied.
The Jaina temple on the crest of the Khandagiri hills stands at a height of 37.5 height from the ground and almost 3.96 above the Udayagiri caves. Built in the 19th century, the temple still preserves and continues with the age-old traditions of worship. Panels/friezes depicting popular legends, historical episodes, religious observances, dancing performances are found in the sculptural and decorative art works of the caves.
The Hathi gumpha in the caves is insignificant for the historical importance of having the inscriptions of king Kharavela engraved on its brow. The 17 line inscription shows the expeditions of king Kharavela including victory of Magadha and retrieval of Jaina cult image. The depiction of 24 Tirthankaras along with Sasanadevis in the Barabhuji cave, Surya Gajalaksmi and Jaina symbols in the Ananta Gumpha of Khandagiri in relief are symbolic of the great early medieval Indian art.
So, what are you waiting for? If you are in Bhubaneswar or somewhere in Odisha or even in India, simply pack your luggage and visit the temple city, the historical monuments etc
The monument remains open from morning to evening.
Entry fee for Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 5 per head and for each foreigner is Rs. 100.00 or US $2.00. Entry is free for children below 15 years.
How to reach:
By Air: Nearest airport is Biju Pattnaik Airport well connected to all the major cities in India.
By Train: Bhubaneswar is the Railway Station to get down and hire a taxi or auto visit the caves.
By Road: From Bhubaneswar central it is just 7 kms to the caves.