Udayagiri is the largest Buddhist centre in Odisha located in the foothills of Jajpur district. This heritage tourist site in Odisha forms the very famous ‘Diamond Triangle’ of Odisha along with Ratnagiri and Lalitgiri. Udayagiri along with its adjacent hill Khandagiri houses a group of ancient rock-cut caves that were once the shelters of earliest groups of Jains. In total, there are 18 caves in Udayagiri and 15 in Khandagiri and are known by the name Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves. However, in the ancient inscriptions, these caves are called as Lena and the most famous of the group lies here in Udayagiri which is Rani Gumpha. Whereas, the other famous caves include Ananta Gumpha, Hathi Gumpha, Jaya Vijaya Gumpha, Ganesha Gumpha, and Bagh Gumpha.
Ancient monasteries and stupas are other prime attractions of the place. The monasteries in Udayagiri trace their history in between 7th to 12th centuries. Since 1958, the place has witnessed numerous excavation programs carried out by Archaeological Survey of India. In all those excavations, various ruins have been recovered that include antiquities, 23 ft stupa, images of Lord Buddha in Dhyani posture, monasteries, and the statues of various deities like Tara, Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara, Lokeswara, Jatamukuta, and more. At present, the complex of Udayagiri proffers a stunning sight of a large monastery. Along with that, the hidden treasure of more such enthralling ruins is expected to be buried under the land which is still unexcavated. These lands boast a mystery to all the art lovers and archaeologists.
Best Time to Visit
Just like the other heritage attractions of Odisha, winter is the best season to visit Udayagiri. The season starts in the month of October and lasts till March. Throughout these months, there remains a moderate temperature which results in an increase in tourism as compared to other seasons.
How to Reach?
The nearest railway station from Udayagiri is Ratnagiri which is located at a distance of 10 km. Moreover, those who’re looking for the nearest airport, Biju Patnaik International Airport is the closest airhead located at a distance of 84 km from Udayagiri.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
- Ratnagiri: Located at a distance of just 12 km, Ratnagiri is also a part of Diamond Triangle of Odisha. The place houses a series of monasteries, shrines, temples, stupas, images, and sculptures that dating back to ancient times.
- Lalitgiri: A significant tourist attraction located just 10 km away from Udayagiri is Lalitgiri. Buddhist monuments, temples, caskets with bones, and various prestigious items like coins and silver can be seen here at Lalitgiri.
- Biraja Temple: Biraja Temple is one of the 18 Shakti Peethas. The prime deity of this temple is referred to as Biraja/Girija/Vairaja. Lord Shiva also resides at this place in the form of Lord Jagannath. The distance between Biraja Temple and Udayagiri is 56 km.