Probably the most famous Buddhist viharas (monasteries) in Odisha, Pushpagiri is perched atop of Languri Hills in the Jajpur district. Built in the 3rd century CE, the place ranks as one of the important institution of higher learning in ancient India that makes it a popular heritage site in the country. In 639 CE, Xuanzang (Hiuen Tsang), a renowned Chinese traveller, visited Pushpagiri along with Vikramshila, Takshashila, and Nalanda. That was the time when he named this place as Pushpagiri Vihara. The Buddhist centre of Pushpagiri also has its description in medieval Tibetan texts. The complex of Pushpagiri sprawls over three hilltops (Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, and Udayagiri) that include various stupas, temples, monasteries, and sculptures which boasts architecture design from the Gupta Period. However, till 1995, when a professor of local college first visited this place, these ruins were undiscovered. After that, an excavation program was carried out here in 1996 under Odisha Institute of Maritime and South East Asian Studies. This program ran from the period of 1996 to 2006 on 143 acres of land. Throughout this whole-time span, numerous ruins were recovered from this place that includes a piece of Brahmi inscription identified as Pushpagiri, a large stupa, artefacts, and more.
Best Time to Visit
Winter season that starts in the month of October and lasts till March is the best time to visit Pushpagiri. Throughout these months, the temperature of the region witnesses a cosy and comfortable weather conditions which remains favourable for tourism.
How to Reach?
The nearest railway station from Pushpagiri is Jajpur Railway Station which is located at a distance of some 62 km. Besides, for those prefer to travel by air, Biju Patnaik is the closest airport with a distance of 71 km from Pushpagiri. One can also reach the place via roads and highways network from nearby cities.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
- Ratnagiri: A prominent part of Diamond Triangle of India, Ratnagiri is a heritage tourist attraction in Odisha. The place is known for various Buddhist ruins that include stupa, monasteries, antiquities, and temples that traces their history from 5 to 12 century.
- Biraja Temple: One of the renowned temples of the region, Biraja is an eminent part of Maha Shakti Peethas. The temple worships the Goddess Durga and Lord Shiva who are seated here in the form of Maa Girija and Lord Jagannath.
- Udayagiri: Revered as the largest Buddhist complex in Odisha, Udayagiri is one of the most sought-after travel places in Jajpur district. The archaeological ruins at Udayagiri include brick stupa, monasteries, and rock-cut sculptures.
- Lalitgiri: Another Buddhist centre that traces its history from the 1st century AD, Lalitgiri is a part of Diamond Triangle of Odisha. The excavation program carried out here found stupas and casket containing bones. For tourists, the place also houses a museum where ancient arts and artefacts are put on display along with the statue of various deities.