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  Home > Rock Edicts of Orissa

Rock Edicts of Orissa
Udayagiri Caves

On the right side of the road are the Udayagiri caves. To get to the caves, walk up the main path, then take the path to the right. At the end of the path, you will come to the two-storey Rani ka Naur (Queen’s Palace), Cave 1. It is the largest of the caves and contains some interesting carvings. You then come back on the same path and proceed to the Chota Hathi Gumpha (3), which contains carvings of elephants, a lion, and winged animals. Then follow the path to the two-storey Jaya Vijaya Cave (5), which has interesting carvings. Then climb the hill and to the right is the two-storey Swargapuri Cave (9).

Then take the path to your right to the Ganesh Gumpha (10). There is an elephant in front and a carving of Ganesh on the right side of the back wall. You can then go up the hill to the top from where there is a good view of the surrounding area. Then follow the path around to the left. You will come to Bagha Gumpha (Tiger Cave), Cave 12. The entrance is carved like a tiger’s mouth. Then return to the path, and on the left is the central Hathi Gumpha (Elephant Cave) (14), which is especially interesting. It has an inscription in the ancient language of Magadhi describing the history of King Kharavela, who funded the carving of some of the caves.

Then return to the Hathi Gumpha and proceed to the Pavana Gumpha (Purification Cave). Then go to Sarpa Gumpha (Serpent Cave), which has a three-headed cobra above the doorway.

Khandagiri Caves

On the other side of the road are the Khandagiri caves. The caves can be reached by going up the steps next to the entrance to the Udayagiri caves. If you climb these steps, when the path divides, take the right path and you come to Caves 1 and 2. They are known as the Parrot Caves because of the birds carved over the doorways. Return on the path for 30m and then climb some steps to the Ananta Cave (3), which has carvings of elephants, women, and a bird carrying flowers. It has the best sculptures of the Khandagiri Caves.

You can then climb the hill, passing the Jain temples, and at the top, there is an 18th century temple dedicated to Mahavir, the 24th tirthankara (Jain teacher). From the temple there is a good view of Bhubaneswar, including the Lingaraja Temple.

Dhauli Hill

Ashoka, the Mauryan Emperor, inscribed his decrees on a rock called the Ashoka Rock Edicts at the foot of Dhauli Hill. These are the earliest known inscribed records in India. Above the edicts there is a sculpture of a frontal view of an elephant, which is the earliest known sculpture in Orissa. It is said that after Ashoka’s army killed 150,000 people in a battle near here in 265 BC, he renounced the path of violence and decided to follow the path of the Buddha.

There is the impressive Buddhist Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda) on top of this hill. It is a beautiful, white-domed building built in the 1970s by Japanese and Indian Buddhists. The Dhaveleswara Temple, a Siva temple, is on the top of the hill. There are good views from the top of the hill.

This hill is 8km from Bhubaneswar. The OTDC organized tours are a convenient way to visit this spot. If you don’t travel in your own vehicle, be prepared to walk about 2km from where the public bus lets you off (ask for Dhauli Chowk). To come here by auto-rickshaw is around Rs 100 roundtrip (there are no rickshaws available at the site) plus waiting time.

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