Khandagiri is one of the twin cave structures of Khandagiri and Udayagiri Hills located in Odisha Bhubaneswar. Situated on top of the Khandagiri Hills these caves attract a lot of people who are naturally attracted towards history and historical reminisces. If you are one of them who prefers delving into history and enjoys knowing about the rich historical past along with knowing about the richness of old structures and formations then you simply cannot miss out on visiting Khandagiri caves.
In this article I will mention everything that you can expect to witness in Khandagiri. Furthermore if you are planning a trip to Khandagiri then this article will be a helpful read for you. So keep on reading this article about the Khandagiri Caves and plan a successful trip to this beautiful location.
Location of Khandagiri: Khandagiri, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Timings of Khandagiri: 9 am to 6 pm on all days
Ticket price of Khandagiri: There is no entry fee to enter Khandagiri
How to reach Khandagiri
The Biju Patnaik International Airport is around 6.5 km away from Khandagiri and it would take around 15 minutes to reach there from the airport.
The Bhubaneswar Railway Station is around 9. 2 km away which is the nearest railway station and it would take around 20 minutes to reach there by an auto or taxi or a car.
Khandagiri is very well connected via roadways. You will get private buses plying from nearby locations to reach Khandagiri.
Best time to visit Khandagiri
The ideal time to visit the Khandagiri Caves is the winter season or the cooler months. Usually the summer here gets too hot and uncomfortable which is not ideal for a visit here as you won’t find much shade while exploring the whole campus. So try to avoid visiting during peak summers. Also the monsoon season can be a little risky for a visit here as there are a lot of stairs and ups and downs here which get slippery during monsoon, so it would be somehow uncomfortable too. The winter season or the cooler months however will be the ideal time to visit here as you will be able to enjoy the place well along with focusing on the details and the bright sky will also offer a beautiful view as a backdrop. So plan your trip accordingly.
Overview of Khandagiri
Khandagiri as the name suggests literally means broken hills. Khandagiri and Udayagiri Hills are twin hills and the caves there attract a lot of visitors on a daily basis. These two hills are located on two adjacent sides. Partly natural and partly artificial caves of the Khandagiri hills are one of the richest sources of history along with being utmost important as ancient structures and rock cut structures. It has a series of finely cut caves that dates back to the 1st century BC.
Also it is believed that these caves are of Jain origin and during the ancient times these caves were used as residential places for the Jain monks during the reign of King Kharavela. Being such a rich source of history, as many as 5 inscriptions are also found inside the Khandagiri Caves. Furthermore the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has listed the Khandagiri Caves in the list of Must See Indian Heritage along with the Udayagiri Caves. They are also listed by ASI as Adarsh Smarak Monument.
Cave 1 or Tatowa Gumpha
This first cave in Khandagiri is named after Parrot. Just at the entrance of this cave you will get to see a stone carved parrot. Furthermore you can see two carvings of Dwarpalas or guards on each side of the entrance. The cave stands on a single pillar and has two entrances leading to one single chamber. Inside the cave you will be able to see sculptures of railings, arches and a lot of other things.
Cave 2 or Tatowa Gumpha
I have not mistakenly written the name of the second cave as Tatowa Cave but both Cave 1 and Cave 2 are called so. From where the way leads down to Cave 1 you will find this Cave 2. Furthermore this cave has a total of three entrances leading to one single chamber. Also there are two pillars supporting the cave. With beautiful stone cut doorways and intricate carvings on the pillars the cave looks splendid in its appearance.
Cave 3 or Ananta Gumpha
By taking the stairs going up further you can reach Cave 3 which is the Ananta Gumpha. You can see three pillars that support the verandah and has a total of 4 entrances. On the inside of the cave there are some stone carvings on the wall. Furthermore inside there will be three doorways that lead to a single chamber.
Cave 4 or Tentuli Gumpha
In the lower section just on the right of the main entrance you will find Cave number 4 which is the Tentuli Gumpha. One of the highlights of this cave is the symbol of an elephant made on top. Furthermore inside the cave there are two entrances beautifully decorated that lead to one single chamber.
Cave 5 or Khandagiri Gumpha
This is actually the first cave that you will get to see just after entering the Khandagiri Hill complex. It is a simple cave that is supported by one single pillar which has been added later for the purpose of restoration of this cave. Furthermore this cave has one single open chamber.
Cave 6 or Dhyana Gumpha
This one does not even look like a cave but looks like a rough cut cell which is wide. There are however no such interesting features to notice here.
Cave 7 or Navamuni Gumpha
This is one of the most intricate as well as interesting caves in the Khandagiri complex that is the Navamuni Gumpha. Furthermore this cave is one of the most informative caves present here as well. This cave is located just next to Cave 6 and looks rather simple from the outside. Inside this cave on the right side of the back wall you will see stone cut panels of Jain Tirthankaras. On the top row there are images of Jain Tirthankaras like Rishabhanatha, Abhinandannath, Ajitanatha, Sambhavanatha, Neminatha, Vasupujya and Parshvanatha.
Furthermore below that there are 8 images found here like images of Ganesha etc. Other than that on the right wall there is a separate carving of Chandraprabhu as well as images of Jain Tirthankaras like Rishabhanatha and Parshvanatha. You can also find many inscriptions around this cave as well.
Cave 8 or Barabhuji Gumpha and Cave 9 or Trusula Gumpha
These two caves, cave 8 and cave 9 are now a part of the Khandagiri temple complex. This is a popular temple among the locals who visit here to pay their visit to the Barabhuji or 12 armed Goddess Durga. The Barabhuji Gumpha consists of several Jain rock cut panels. But the most important is the revered Barabhuji Goddess who is considered a very powerful goddess here. Regularly hundreds of devotees visit here to offer their prayers to the Goddess.
Furthermore on the walls of the cell there are a total of 25 figures of Jain Tirthankaras. Below that you can notice the respective Sasanadevis of each of the Tirthankaras. It is believed that the sculptures here were added during the 11th century by the Somvanshi dynasty.
The cave 9 is the Trusula Gumpha which is located next to the Barabhuji Gumpha. Most of the time, the gate of this cave remains closed. Inside this cave there are three sculptures of Rishabhanatha. Apart from that there are rough sculptures of 24 Jain Tirthankaras here.
Cave 10 or Ambika Gumpha
This cave has collapsed and doesn’t have a roof. Three sculptures are seen on the top here like two carvings of Rishabhanatha and one belonging to Amara which is a female carving.
Cave 11 or Lalatendu Keshari Gumpha
Here also the original cave has majorly collapsed and the top section has no roof. On the right chamber there are three reliefs out of which two belong to Rishabhanatha and one belongs to Parshvanatha.
Cave 12 or Unnamed Cave
On the south of the Khandagiri Hill you will find this cave that doesn’t have a name. After crossing the Lalatendu Keshari Gumpha towards the left you will come across a rock cut water tank known as the Radha Kund. From there after climbing up a little you will come across the unnamed cave 12. Furthermore, this cave in Khandagiri doesn’t look like a proper cave. You can simply notice two chambers here separated by a wall in the centre. There are no ceilings or walls here at present.
Cave 13 or Unnamed Cave
This is another cave in Khandagiri which is unnamed. Located just 10 metres away from Cave 12 you will find this cave. Furthermore the condition of this cave is a little better as you can still notice the ceiling here. However there are no pillars of this cave which have probably collapsed in the due course of the time.
Cave 14 or Ekadashi Gumpha and Cave 15 or Unnamed Cave are two simple caves with not much detail.
Digambar Jain Temple
Another important thing to notice at the Khandagiri is the famous Digambar Jain Temple. Located right on top of Khandagiri, this Digambar Jain Temple is seen from all the sides. According to historians it is believed that this temple was built by King Kharavela many years ago. However at present the temple that we see is a newer structure added at the same spot. Photography is not allowed inside the temple complex.
This is one of the historically and archaeologically rich sites that you cannot miss out on seeing. These Khandagiri caves are one of the wonders of the world and as long as you don’t see them with your own eyes you won’t be able to understand the beauty of these partly natural and partly artificial caves. So whenever you are visiting Odisha or Bhubaneswar make sure you are surely visiting the Khandagiri Caves and also make sure to visit the Udayagiri caves as well.
Furthermore there is one special occasion held here which is the Khandagiri Mela that is held annually during the months between the January to February. If you are ever visiting here during this time do not miss out on attending this local festival here. So now tell me if you are intrigued enough to visit here after reading this article and when you are planning to visit this location. Also don’t forget to tell me if this particular article was helpful for you in planning a trip to the Khandagiri caves.