Udayagiri Caves are over 2000 years-old Jain caves, situated 6 km west of Bhubaneswar
, in Orissa
. There are two sets of caves carved into two opposite hills; Udayagiri Caves and Khandagiri Caves
. There are 44 caves in all, some of which are natural while some others are carved out of rock. The caves can be accessed by a flight of steps and an ancient ramp rising gradually from the foot of the hill.
Cave 1, renowned as the Rani Gumpha or ‘Queen's Cave’, is the largest of the caves featuring some of the intricately carved sculptures. Cave 3, known as the Chota Hathi Gumpha, contains beautiful carvings of elephants, a lion and winged animals. Caves 3 and 4 are double storied caves, representing sculptures of a lion holding its prey, elephants with snakes wrapped around them and pillars pinnacled by pairs of peculiar winged animals.
Cave 10, popularly known as Ganesh Gumpha, derives its name from the appearance on the rear wall of the cell on the right of the elephant-headed Ganesh. Cave 12, Bagha Gumpha (Tiger Cave); Cave 14, Hathi Gumpha (Elephant Cave); Pavana Gumpha (Purification Cave); and Sarpa Gumpha (Serpent Cave), are worth visiting.
A little away from the Udayagiri hill are the ruins of an old Chaitya hall. It was the main place of worship for the Jain monks. There is a Jain Temple at the top of the hill.
The caves remain open from 8:00 to 18:00 hrs.
The government restaurant, situated here, serves delicious dishes.
Udayagiri Caves can be reached by an auto-rickshaw from Bhubaneswar.