Khandagiri

Description : Khandagiri and Udaygiri are the twin hills is situated just 7 kms distance from the state capital Bhubaneswar. Khandagiri Caves are very close to Udaya giri caves. The caves are situated on two adjacent hills, Udayagiri and Khandagiri, mentioned as Kumari Parvat in the Hathigumpha inscription. They have a number of finely and ornately carved caves. It is believed that most of these caves were carved out as residential blocks for Jain monks during the reign of King Kharavela. Udayagiri means "Sunrise Hill" and has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves.

From the inscription, we learn much about Kharavela's military exploits, and also that his royal city had gate towers, bathing and drinking tanks, and was the scene of formally organized music and dance performances, as well as sporting and social events. The city, says the inscription, " was made to dance with joy". Kharavela was evidently a skilled musician, and it seems as if he created a remarkable center of the arts.

The famous Rani Gumpha ('Queen's Cave'), also on Udaygiri, has upper and lower stories, a spacious courtyard, and elaborate sculptural friezes. The carvings show popular legends, historical scenes, and religious functions, as well as many dancers. The style seems quite well-developed, and of a singular grace and liveliness.

The Ganesha Gumpha, which is reached by a walkway from the lower storey of the Rani Gumpha, is isolated, and perhaps for this reason, better preserved. Its two dwelling-spaces with verandah in front are reached by a short staircase from the courtyard. The Ananta cave (cave 3) depicts carved figures of women, elephants, athletes, and geese carrying flowers.


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