The twin hills of Udayagiri and Khandagiri contain a set of 33 rock-cut caves belonging to the Jaina faith, dating from 2nd century BC. Udayagiri (‘Giri’ means mountain or hill), or the Hill of the Rising Sun, having 18 caves is separated from Khandagiri or the Broken Hill, comprising of 15 caves by a highway. These caves, containing dwelling-retreats of the Jain monks, represent one of the earliest groups of rock-cut Jain architecture in Eastern India.
In this Tour:
• We visit these hills and understand the nomenclature of the evocative names of each cave, based on their motifs.
• Explore the historically significant Hathi Gumpha or Elephant Cave at Udayagiri, which contains a 117-line inscription about the Chedi King Kharavela and events during his rule (193 BC-170 BC).
• Visit some extraordinary double-storied caves like the Rani Gumpha (Queen's Cave), that stand out amongst the other single-storied ones.
• Get awed by the exteriors of the dwellings which are beautifully embellished with carvings depicting Jain religious motifs, court scenes, royal processions, hunting expeditions and scenes of daily life. And enter a parallel universe within the cave where Spartan and austere living quarters of Jain ascetics are found.
• A valuable insight into the religion of Jainism is acquired along with fabulous photo-opportunities.
Duration of the Tour: 3 hours