What to Expect
Udaygiri caves are best known for their rock-cut
images and sanctuaries sculpted and built during the 5th century CE.
They lie at a distance from 13 km from the heritage Buddhist site of Sanchi and
4 km from Vidisha. Some of the famous sculptures in the site are that of Lord
Vishnu in his boar-headed incarnation Varaha. The site bears important
inscriptions belonging to the Gupta dynasty under the reigns of Mauryagupta I
and Chandragupta I.
The caves also have a series of
petroglyphs and rock shelters, ruined
buildings, water systems, inscriptions, habitation mounds and fortifications.
There are a number of places in India with the same name, such as the Udaygiri
caves in the state of Orissa.
The name Udaygiri literally means ‘mountain
of sunrise’ which first showed up in the eleventh century inscriptions. Many
historians have reported that the iron pillar at Delhi was originally located
at Udaygiri. Inscriptions in the pillar suggest the town of Udaygiri was
earlier known as Vishnupadgiri.
What is in it for you?
The caves at Udaygiri site were numbered in
the 19th century by Alexander Cunningham and they were later
improvised by the Archaeology Dept. Of Gwalior. Tourists mostly visit the caves
numbered 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 13. Cave 8 bears one of the most unique feature
among the Udaygiri caves; there is a passage, which starts beside Cave 8 and
consists of a natural canyon or cleft in the rock that runs approximately east
The passage has been modified and changed a number of times as the
steps are now water worn; they used to serve as water cascades during the
ancient times. There are images of the 5th century and shell letters
that indicate and depict pre-Gupta dynasty times.
How to Reach Udaygiri
Most of the caves have sculptures and
inscriptions glorifying Lord Vishnu in his different avatars. The nearest
airport is at Bhopal, which is located 60 km from Vidisha and it is linked to
Indore, Delhi, Mumbai and Gwalior.
Udaygiri caves can also be reached via Bhopal
railway station, which is on the Chennai-Delhi rail route. The Sanchi railway
station in the Itarsi-Jhansi section is also a preferable railway junction for
tourists coming to Udaygiri.