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The Hills and Caves of Udaygiri

by Madhav Srinivasan 1947 days ago

Udaygiri caves are a group of archaeological caves near the city of Vidisha, which was the provincial capital of Gupta Empire. The site is located in the Vidisha district in the state of Madhya Pradesh under the maintenance and guidance of ASI .

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. Udaygiri is a popular place to holiday in Madhya Pradesh

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 to west. 

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. Book your MP holiday tours in India, to get up close and personal with some of the most historic edifices known to mankind. 

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. One can book Udaygiti tours from Chennai or Bangalore. 

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