About the Udaygiri Caves
Built in the second century BC by King Kharavela for the Jain ascetics, these ancient caves replete with anecdotes of history carved on the walls literally takes us back in time.
It is believed that one hundred seventeen odd caves were originally present of which thirty three remain to this day. The hill was originally known as Kumari Parvat.
Prominent amongst the caves are the Hathigumpha (elephant cave) which bears the inscriptions of King Kharavela, Rani Gumpha and the Ganesh Gumpha.
The caves served as residences for the Jain monks and were equipped with water source in form a small canal which passes through every cave, an ingenious communication system through holes, a place to light the lamps and the tilted flooring which served as a head rest.
Many of the caves are double storeyed and its believed that the upper chambers of the caves were used for deep meditation.
The Udaygiri hills come under the purview of ASI and entry is ticketed.
For Indian Nationals- entry fee- Rs.15/- per person
For SAARC countries – entry fee- Rs.15/- per person
For Foreigners other than SAARC countries – Rs.200/- per person
Children below fifteen years of age entry is free
Video camera – fee – Rs.25/-
About the Khandagiri Caves
The Khandagiri caves doesn’t fall under the purview of the Archaeological Survey of India yet , hence entry to the hill is free.
There is an ancient temple wherein Goddess Durga and Goddess Kali are face to face and each has twelve hands.
One can find the twenty four Jain Teerthankar’s carved on the walls of the ancient temple.
The Yaksha and Yakshini’s of each Teerthankar is carved on the wall of an adjacent cave.
One is advised to take a guide if you are visiting for the first time to get an essence of the place. Guides are available at the ticket counter, but switch on your bargaining cap while finalizing. For a guided tour to both the hills a price of Rs.300-400 should be good enough, while if you just want to take a guide for Udaygiri hills, a price of Rs.200-Rs.250 should be what you should be looking at.
One can reach Udaygiri and Khandagiri caves by cab or auto from the city. One can avail the city bus service, the bus no.504- SUM hospital to Jagatpur, bus no.603, Sai Temple to Kalinga Vihar & bus no. 405- Dumduma to VSS Nagar have stop over at Khandagiri Square.