Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves: A Hidden Treasure of History, Culture and Art

The caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri are located near the city of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, India. They are easily accessible by road, rail, and air, and are open to visitors from 6 am to 6 pm every day, except on Mondays. The entry fee for Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves is Rs. 25 for Indian nationals and Rs. 300 for foreign nationals.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri

What are the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves?

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, a remarkable site of historical, cultural, and artistic significance in the state of Odisha, India. These caves are not only a testimony to the rich and glorious past of Odisha, but also a treasure trove of Jain heritage, one of the oldest religions in the world. explore the fascinating caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri, and discover their hidden secrets and stories.

The caves were created mainly during the reign of King Kharavela, who ruled Kalinga from the 1st century BCE to the 1st century CE. He was a patron of Jainism and a powerful conqueror who expanded his empire across India. He also commissioned many public works, such as irrigation projects, roads, and monuments. One of his most famous achievements was the excavation of the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves for the residence and worship of Jain monks

The caves are also known as Kattaka Caves or Cuttack Caves, as they were part of the ancient city of Kataka, which was the capital of Kalinga until the 10th century CE. The caves are mentioned as Kumari Parvata (Virgin Hill) in the Hathigumpha inscription, a long record of Kharavela’s deeds carved on the wall of one of the caves.

The caves are classified into two groups: Udayagiri has 18 caves and Khandagiri has 15 caves. The caves are numbered according to their location and sequence, and each cave has a name based on its features or legends. The caves are also called lena or leṇa in the inscriptions, which means a rock-cut shelter.

What can you see in the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves?

The Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are a treasure trove of history, culture, and art. You can see various sculptures, carvings, paintings, and inscriptions that depict the life and beliefs of the Jain community, as well as the political and social events of the Kalinga dynasty. Some of the highlights of the caves are:

•  Hathi Gumpha (Elephant Cave): This is the largest and most famous cave in Udayagiri, where you can see the Hathigumpha inscription, which is written in Brahmi script and Prakrit language. The inscription narrates the achievements and conquests of King Kharavela and also mentions his interactions with other contemporary rulers, such as the Mauryan emperor Ashoka and the Indo-Greek king Demetrius. The inscription is considered as one of the most important sources of ancient Indian history.

•  Rani Gumpha (Queen’s Cave): This is the largest and most ornate cave in Udayagiri, which has two stories and a spacious courtyard. The cave is decorated with elaborate carvings of animals, humans, and divine beings, depicting scenes from Jain mythology and folklore. The cave also has a series of cells for the monks to live in.

•  Ananta Gumpha (Snake Cave): This is a small but beautiful cave in Udayagiri, which has a carved doorway with a hooded snake on the top. The cave also has sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras (spiritual teachers) and other figures, such as a dancing girl, a royal couple, and a lion.

•  Ganesha Gumpha (Ganesha Cave): This is a cave in Udayagiri, which has a carved image of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god of wisdom and success, on the wall. The cave also has paintings of floral and geometric patterns on the ceiling.

•  Jaya Vijaya Gumpha (Victory Cave): This is a cave in Udayagiri, which has a carved panel of a battle scene between the armies of Kharavela and a rival king. The panel shows the details of the weapons, armor, chariots, elephants, and horses used in the war.

•  Mancapuri and Swargapuri (Jewel City and Heaven City): These are two adjacent caves in Khandagiri, which are connected by a stone bridge. The caves are named after the legendary cities of the Jain cosmology, where the souls of the righteous go after death. The caves have carvings of Jain Tirthankaras, celestial beings, and animals.

•  Tatowa Gumpha (Parrot Cave): This is a cave in Khandagiri, which has a carved doorway with two parrots on the top. The cave also has sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras and a scene of a royal procession.

•  Navamuni Gumpha (Nine Saints Cave): This is a cave in Khandagiri, which has a carved panel of nine Jain saints sitting in meditation. The panel also has inscriptions of their names and titles.

Why should you visit the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves?

The Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are not only a marvel of ancient engineering and artistry, but also a reflection of the rich and diverse culture of Odisha. The caves offer a glimpse into the history, religion, and society of the Kalinga dynasty, which was one of the most powerful and influential kingdoms in India. The caves also showcase the harmony and tolerance that existed between different faiths and communities, as the caves have elements of Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

The Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are a must-see for anyone who loves to explore and learn about the past and also appreciate the beauty and creativity of the human spirit. The caves are a hidden treasure of history, culture, and art that will surely leave you amazed and inspired.

Lingaraj Temple: Timing, History, and Entry Fees

Lingaraj Temple is one of the oldest and largest temples in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, who are worshipped as Harihara, the combined form of the two deities. The temple is an architectural marvel that showcases the rich cultural heritage of Odisha and the Kalinga style of temple building.

Lingaraj Temple is also a sacred site for Hindus, who believe that the Swayambhu Shivalinga in the temple is self-manifested and has been worshipped since ancient times.


How to reach Lingaraj Temple

Lingaraj Temple is located in one of the prime locations of Bhubaneswar; hence, can be easily reached from the airport, railway station, bus stand, or any other part of the city. Here are some of the ways to reach Lingaraj Temple:

•  By Air: The nearest airport to Lingaraj Temple is the Bhubaneswar International Airport, which is about 4 km away. Take a taxi, auto-rickshaw, or bus from the airport to the temple.

•  By Rail: The nearest railway station to Lingaraj Temple is the Bhubaneswar Railway Station, which is about 3 km away. Take a taxi, auto-rickshaw, or bus from the railway station to the temple.

•  By Road: Lingaraj Temple is well-connected by road to the rest of the city and the state.Take a taxi, auto-rickshaw, or bus from any part of the city to the temple.

Lingaraj Temple Timing

Lingaraj Temple timings are from 6:00 AM to 12:30 PM and again from 3:30 PM to 9:00 PM every day. Visit the temple during these hours and have a darshan of the Swayambhu Shivalinga and other deities. There is no entry fee for the temple, but follow the dress code and other temple rules. The temple is only open to Hindus, but non-Hindus can view the temple from a platform outside the complex.

Lingaraj Temple History

Lingaraj Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu (as Harihara) and is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, India. The temple is a masterpiece of Kalinga architecture and has a 180 ft (55 m) high tower over the main sanctum. Lingaraj temple was built by King Jajati Keshari of the Somavamsi dynasty in the 11th century CE, but some parts of it may date back to the 7th century CE.

The temple is surrounded by a large compound wall and has 150 smaller shrines within it. Lingaraj temple is famous for its Swayambhu (self-manifested) Shivalinga, which is 8 feet in diameter and 8 inches tall. It is also a center of various festivals and rituals, such as Mahashivaratri, Ashokashtami, and Chandan Yatra.

Lingaraj Temple Entry Fees

There is no entry fee for the Lingaraj Temple. Visit the temple for free and have a darshan of the Swayambhu Shivalinga and other deities.

The Architecture of Lingaraj Temple

The Lingaraj Temple is a splendid example of Kalinga architecture, which is characterized by a curvilinear tower (shikhara), a porch (jagamohana), a hall (nata Mandira), and a sanctum (garbhagriha). The temple complex covers an area of 25,000 square feet and has 150 smaller shrines within its premises. The main temple has a height of 180 feet and is surrounded by a massive stone wall. The temple has four entrances, each guarded by a lion. The main entrance faces east and leads to the jagamohana, which is a pyramidal structure with a terraced roof.

The jagamohana has three tiers of windows that allow natural light to enter the hall. The hall has a stone platform where devotees can sit and pray. The jagamohana is connected to the nata mandira, which is a rectangular hall with pillars and arches. The nata mandira is used for cultural and religious performances.

The nata mandira leads to the garbhagriha, which is the innermost chamber of the temple. The garbhagriha houses the Swayambhu Shivalinga, which is believed to be 8 feet in diameter and 8 inches tall. The Shivalinga is made of black granite and is worshipped as Lord Harihara, a combination of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.

Also Read- Chilika Lake: Best Places to Visit in Summer!


Chilika Lake: Best Time to Visit, Things to Do!

Chilika Lake is a stunning destination that attracts visitors with its natural beauty, wildlife diversity, and cultural heritage. Chilika Lake is the largest brackish water lagoon in Asia and the second largest in the world, covering an area of over 1,100 square kilometers (420 sq mi) It is located on the east coast of India, in the state of Odisha, and spans across three districts: Puri, Khordha, and Ganjam.


Best Time to Visit in Chilika Lake:

Winter Wonderland (November to February): Chilika Lake transforms into a serene paradise as the winter chill sets in. The months from November to February mark the best time to visit, with the weather at its most pleasant. The cool breeze off the lake and the clear skies create an ideal setting for exploration and outdoor activities.

Migratory Marvels (October to March): Nature enthusiasts, rejoice! Chilika becomes a haven for migratory birds during these months. Witness the spectacular sight of flocks of flamingos, pelicans, and other avian wonders as they make Chilika their temporary abode. Birdwatching reaches its peak, offering an unparalleled experience for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers

Things to Do in Chilika Lake:

Boat Safari to Satapada: Embark on a boat safari to Satapada, the entry point to the lagoon. The journey itself is a feast for the eyes, surrounded by panoramic lake views. Satapada is not only renowned for its dolphins but also for its picturesque landscapes and mangrove ecosystems.

Chilika Island Hopping: Explore the numerous islands that dot Chilika Lake, each with its unique charm. From the serene Breakfast Island to the sacred Kalijai Temple Island, indulge in island hopping to discover the cultural, spiritual, and natural treasures that lie within the lake’s embrace.

Birdwatching at Nalabana Island: For bird enthusiasts, Nalabana Island is a must-visit destination. Traverse the wetlands and witness a symphony of colors as migratory birds find refuge in Chilika’s ecosystem. Capture breathtaking moments as flamingos and herons gracefully navigate the waters, creating a living canvas of nature’s wonders.

Relaxation at Rambha Bay: Unwind at Rambha Bay, where golden sands meet the gentle waves of Chilika. This is the perfect spot for a leisurely swim or a tranquil picnic. The lush green surroundings and the soothing ambiance make Rambha Bay an ideal retreat for those seeking relaxation amidst nature.

Dolphin watching: One of the main attractions of Chilika Lake is the dolphin watching tours, where you can see the rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in their natural habitat. These dolphins are known for their playful and friendly behavior and can be seen swimming, jumping, and splashing in the water.

The best place to see the dolphins is at Satapada, a small town on the eastern shore of the lake, Take a boat ride and spot the dolphins. Visit the nearby islands, such as Honeymoon Island, Beacon Island, Birds’ Island, Breakfast Island, and Somolo Island, where you can see various birds, plants, and animals

Temple visit: Chilika Lake is also a sacred place for the local people, who worship the deity Jagannath, the lord of the universe, and his consort, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. The lake has many temples, shrines, and monuments, such as the Kalijai Temple, the Nirmaljhar Temple, the Narayani Temple, and the Chilika Museum.

The most famous temple is the Kalijai Temple, which is dedicated to Goddess Kalijai, who is believed to be an incarnation of Lakshmi. The temple is located on an island in the southern part of the lake and is accessible by boat from Balugaon or Rambha. The temple is visited by thousands of devotees, especially during the Makar Sankranti festival in January, when a large fair is held on the island.

Water sports: If you are looking for some adventure and fun, you can also enjoy some water sports at Chilika Lake, such as jet skiing, speed boating, and banana boating. Try fishing, crab catching, or kayaking, and taste the fresh seafood from the lake. Camp on the islands or the shore, and enjoy the night sky and the sound of the waves. Find many operators and facilities for these activities at Satapada, Balugaon, or Rambha.

These are some of the best places to visit in Chilika Lake in summer, plan your trip to this amazing destination. Chilika Lake is a place where can experience the divine and the adventurous, the natural and the cultural, and the serene and the lively. It is a place where can create memories that will last a lifetime.

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Chilika Lake: Best Places to Visit in Summer!

What to See and Do in Puri: Comprehensive List of Attractions and Activities

Puri is one of the most popular and sacred destinations in India, attracting millions of visitors every year. Puri is not only a place of pilgrimage, but also a place of beauty, culture, and adventure. There are many things to see and do in Puri, whether looking for spiritual enlightenment, historical exploration, or natural wonder. plan your perfect trip to Puri, and learn about some of the best attractions and activities that enjoy in Puri.

Jagannath Temple

The Jagannath Temple is the most famous and revered temple in Puri, dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a form of Vishnu. The temple is known for its annual Rath Yatra, or chariot festival, which is one of the largest and oldest religious events in the world. During the festival, the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are taken out of the temple and placed on huge wooden chariots, which are pulled by thousands of devotees along the streets of Puri.

Puri Jagannath temple

The temple complex also houses many other shrines, sculptures, and artworks that showcase the rich heritage of Odisha. The temple is open to all Hindus, regardless of caste or creed, and is considered to be one of the four holy dhams of Hinduism.

Puri Beach

Puri Beach is a long stretch of golden sand that is ideal for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. The beach also hosts many cultural and religious events, such as the Puri Beach Festival and the Sand Art Festival. The beach is also a great place to witness the sunrise and sunset and enjoy the local cuisine and handicrafts.

Puri Beach

The beach is also famous for its sand sculptures, which are created by local artists using only sand and water. Some of the sculptures depict scenes from Hindu mythology, while others are inspired by contemporary themes and issues. The beach is also a popular spot for yoga and meditation, as it offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

Chilika Lake

The Chilika Lake is the largest brackish water lagoon in Asia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lake is a haven for migratory birds, dolphins, turtles, and other aquatic creatures. The lake also offers many activities, such as boating, fishing, and camping.

Chilika Lake

Chilika lake is also famous for its scenic islands, such as Nalabana, Kalijai, and Satapada. Nalabana is a bird sanctuary, where see thousands of birds of different species and colors. Kalijai is a temple island, where you can visit the shrine of Goddess Kalijai, who is believed to be the presiding deity of the lake. Satapada is a dolphin island, where you can spot the rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, which are only found in a few places in the world.

Some of the best attractions and activities that you can enjoy in Puri are the Jagannath Temple, the Puri Beach, the Chilika Lake, and the Raghurajpur Artist Village. These places will enrich your mind, body, and soul, and leave you with unforgettable memories.

Raghurajpur Artist Village

The Raghurajpur Artist Village is a unique village where every household is engaged in some form of traditional craft, such as painting, carving, weaving, or puppetry. The village is known for its Pattachitra paintings, which are made of cloth or palm leaf, and depict various themes from Hindu mythology and folklore.

Raghurajpur Artist Village

The village also organizes cultural programs, such as dance, music, and drama, to showcase the talent and creativity of the villagers. The village is also a great place to buy souvenirs and gifts, and find a variety of handicrafts, such as masks, toys, lamps, and jewelry, made by the local artisans.

These are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Puri, but there are many more to explore and experience. Puri is a destination that offers something for everyone, whether they are looking for spirituality, adventure, or relaxation. Puri is a place that will enrich your mind, body, and soul, and leave you with unforgettable memories. So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets and plan your trip to Puri today!For More Information Visit Mypuritour !

Hampi in January: Guide to the Best Places, Activities, and Packages for a Magical Trip!

Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Karnataka, India, that showcases the glorious past of the Vijayanagara Empire. It is a place where you can witness the magnificent ruins of temples, palaces, markets, and monuments that date back to the 14th-16th centuries. It is also a place where you can enjoy the natural beauty of the rocky landscape, the Tungabhadra river, and the lush greenery.

Best Places to Visit in Hampi in January

Hampi has over 500 monuments and structures that showcase the rich history, culture, and art of the Vijayanagara Empire.

Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha Temple is the oldest and most sacred temple in Hampi, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is also the only temple that is still active and has regular worship services. The temple has a 50-meter-high gopuram (tower) that is visible from a distance. The temple also has a sanctum sanctorum, a pillared hall, a courtyard, and a shrine for Lakshmi, the temple elephant.

Vittala Temple

Vittala Temple is the most ornate and elaborate temple in Hampi, famous for its musical pillars and stone chariot. The musical pillars produce different sounds when tapped gently. The stone chariot is a replica of a wooden chariot that once carried an image of Lord Vishnu. The temple also has several halls, pavilions, and sculptures that depict various scenes from Hindu mythology.

Hemakuta Hill

Hemakuta Hill is a hill that offers a panoramic view of Hampi and its surroundings. It is also dotted with several temples and shrines that belong to different periods and styles. Some of the notable temples are the Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple, which has a 2.4-meter-high statue of Lord Ganesha; the Kadalekalu Ganesha Temple, which has a 4.5-meter-high statue of Lord Ganesha; and the Virupaksha Bazaar Temple, which has a stepped tank and a monolithic Nandi (bull).

Royal Enclosure

Royal Enclosure is an area that was once the seat of power and administration of the Vijayanagara Empire. It has several structures that reflect the grandeur and splendor of the royal life. Some of them are the Mahanavami Dibba, which is a three-tiered platform where the king used to watch festivals and ceremonies; the Lotus Mahal, which is a two-storied pavilion with lotus-like arches and domes; and the Elephant Stables, which are a row of 11 chambers where the royal elephants were kept.

Matanga Hill

Matanga Hill is another hill that offers a stunning view of Hampi and its monuments. It is also a popular spot for watching sunrise and sunset. The hill has a temple dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra on its top. The hill also has several caves and rock paintings that date back to prehistoric times.

Best Activities to Do in Hampi in January

Hampi is not only a place for sightseeing but also for adventure and fun. There are many activities that you can do in Hampi in January, such as:

Trekking: Hampi has many hills and boulders that offer exciting trekking opportunities for both beginners and experts. Trek to various peaks like Matanga Hill, Anjanadri Hill, Malyavanta Hill, Hemakuta Hill, etc., and enjoy the scenic views and fresh air.

Bouldering: Hampi is also known as a boulderer’s paradise, as it has hundreds of boulders of different shapes and sizes that challenge your strength and balance. Rent bouldering equipment from local shops or guides and try your hand at this sport.

Coracle Ride: A coracle is a round-shaped boat made of bamboo and tarpaulin that can carry up to four people. Take a coracle ride on the Tungabhadra river and enjoy the serene atmosphere and the views of the monuments along the banks. You can also spot some aquatic animals like crocodiles and turtles on the way.

Cycling: Cycling is another way to explore Hampi and its surroundings. You can rent a bicycle from local shops or hotels and pedal your way through the lanes and paths of Hampi. Visit some nearby villages and interact with the locals and learn about their culture and lifestyle.

Shopping: Hampi has a vibrant and colorful market that sells various items like handicrafts, souvenirs, clothes, jewelry, books, etc. You can buy some unique and memorable gifts for yourself and your loved ones from here. You can also bargain and get some good deals.

Best Packages for Hampi in January

Myholidayhappiness offers a variety of tour packages like Hampi packages, Madurai packages, Wayanad packages, and Coorg Packages to suit different needs and budgets. Choose from basic, budget, or premium plans, depending on your preferences and requirements.

Hampi Heritage Tour Package

Hampi Heritage Tour Package is a 2 days 1 night package that covers the major heritage sites of Hampi, such as the Virupaksha Temple, the Vittala Temple, the Royal Enclosure, the Lotus Mahal, etc. The package includes accommodation, transport, guide, breakfast, and entry fees.

Hampi Adventure Tour Package

Hampi Adventure Tour Package is a 3 days 2 nights package that covers the heritage sites as well as some adventure activities like trekking, bouldering, coracle ride, etc. The package includes accommodation, transport, guide, breakfast, entry fees, and activity charges.

Hampi Cultural Tour Package

Hampi Cultural Tour Package is a 4 days 3 nights package that covers the heritage sites as well as some cultural attractions like the Hampi Utsav (if applicable), the Anegundi village, the Kishkindha heritage resort, etc. The package includes accommodation, transport, guide, breakfast, entry fees, and cultural charges.

Tips and Tricks for Visiting Hampi in January

To make your trip to Hampi in January more enjoyable and memorable, here are some tips and tricks that you should keep in mind:

  • Book your package in advance to avoid last-minute hassles and get better deals.
  • Pack light and comfortable clothes, shoes, sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, etc., as the weather can be warm and sunny during the day.
  • Carry enough water and snacks with you as there are not many shops or restaurants near the monuments.
  • Respect the local culture and customs and dress modestly while visiting temples or villages.
  • Do not litter or damage the monuments or the environment. Follow the rules and regulations of the authorities.
  • Be careful while trekking or bouldering as the terrain can be slippery or rocky. Wear proper gear and follow the instructions of your guide.
  • Bargain politely while shopping or hiring services. Do not pay more than what is reasonable or agreed upon.
  • Enjoy yourself and have fun!

Hampi is a magical place that will enchant you with its history, culture, nature, and adventure. It is a place that you should visit at least once in your lifetime. January is one of the best months to visit Hampi as you can enjoy the pleasant weather, the festive spirit, and the various activities that it offers.

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