Located in the outskirts of Odisha and distanced about 6 km from Bhubneshwar, Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are the oldest clusters of Jain rock-cut shelters. Udayagiri and Khandagiri are also termed as Hill of Sunrise and Broken Hills, respectively. The significance of these caves in the Indian history, religion, art and rock-cut architecture cannot be explained in the words.
These caves served as a shelter to the Jain ascetics and were used as a lonely place for meditation and prayer. Though these shelters bare minimum necessities but they are adorned with stunning sculptures from inside. These sculptures showcase day-to-day life events, hunting trips, royal parades and auspicious objects that were worshipped by Jains.
Udayagiri Caves are a group of 18 caves and the largest cave here is the Queen’s Cave, also known as Rani Gumpha Cave. The inside of this cave is adorned with the sculptures of dancing women, musical instruments and royal possessions. Other important caves here are Alkapuri Gumpha, Vygraha Gumpha and Ganesa Gumpha, all of which encompass different and unique sculptures.
Khandagiri Caves is a cluster of 15 caves and the entrance of these caves feature two Tatowa Gumphas which have the parrot carvings in the original color, with inscriptions of that time. The main caves are Ananta Gumpha (that features ancient motifs), Navamuni Gumpha and Barabhuji Gumpha. Every cave of the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves has its own structure and they feature stunningly unique sculptures.