Udayagiri Caves

Scenic Spot

 

Overview

The Udayagiri Caves are an early Hindu ritual site located near Vidisha in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Northern India. They were extensively carved and reworked under the command of Chandragupta II, Emperor of the Gupta Empire, in the late 4th and 5th century CE. One of India's most important archaeological sites from the Gupta period, it is currently a tourist site under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India.

Udayagiri consists of a substantial U-shaped plateau immediately next to the River Bes. Located a short distance from the earthen ramparts of ancient Besnagar, Udayagiri is about 4 km from the modern town of Vidisha and about 13 km from the Buddhist site of Sanchi. Udayagiri is best known for a series of rock-cut sanctuaries and images excavated into hillside in the early years of the fifth century CE. The most artistic sculpture is the monumental figure of Vishnu in his incarnation as the boar-headed Varaha. The site has important inscriptions of the Gupta dynasty belonging to the reigns of Chandragupta II (c. 375-415) and Kumaragupta I (c. 415-55). In addition to these remains, Udayagiri has a series of rock-shelters and petroglyphs, ruined buildings, inscriptions, water systems, fortifications and habitation mounds, all of which have been only partially investigated.

There are a number of places in India with the same name, the most notable being the mountain called Udayagiri at Rajgir in Bihar and the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves in Odisha. The site at Udayagiri Caves was extensively reworked under the patronage of Chandragupta II, who ruled the Gupta Empire between c. 380 and 413/415 CE. Archaeologist Michael D. Willis argued that Chandragupta II did so in order to reflect a new concept of Hindu kingship, in which the monarch was seen as both the paramount sovereign (cakravartin) and the supreme devotee of the god Vishnu.

The Udayagiri Caves Contain Morethan 8 caves.

Cave 1, the only substantial residue on the southern part of Udayagiri hill, has a frontage adapted out of a natural ledge of rock, thus forming both the root of the cave and its portico.

Cave 3 is the first of the central group or cluster of shrines and reliefs. It consists of an irregularly finished cella with a plain entrance. Traces of two pilasters are seen on both sides of the entrance and there is a deep horizontal cutting above which shows that there was some sort of portico in front of the shrine. Inside there is a Cave carved out of the rock image of Karttikeya or Skanda, the war god, on a monolithic plinth. The mouldings and spout of the plinth are now damaged. The figure, with an impressive muscular torso, stands with his weight equally on both legs; one of the hands holds the remains of a staff or club. The broad square face is typical of the early fifth-century style of figural sculpture.

Cave 4 has a rectangular cella with a rock-cut plinth in which is set a spectacular siva linga. The hair is tied up into a topknot with long locks cascading down each side. The arrangement of the hair recalls the story of how siva broke the fall of the River Ga?g? as the waters came down from heaven. There is a water channel in the plinth and in the floor of the chamber leading to a hole that pierces in the cave wall. The cave is entered through an entrance of exquisite proportions with delicately carved floral scrolls. The lintel of the door extends beyond the jambs to create a T-shape, a common characteristic of early temple architecture. Unlike most doors, however, the frame consists only of square moulding, identical on the top and sides.

Cave 5 is a shallow niche more than a cave and contains the much-celebrated figure of Vishnu in his Varaha or Boar-headed incarnation.

Cave 6 is directly beside Cave 5 and consists of rock-cut cella entered through an elaborate T-shaped door. The original image inside is missing but it was probably a ?iva li?ga. Outside the cave is a panel with an inscription recording the creation of the 'meritorious gift' (deyadharma), probably the cave and the adjacent images, in Gupta year 82.

Cave 8 is slightly to the north and east of the Cave 6 cluster. It is excavated into a dome-shaped rock surmounted by massive horizontal slab. The curious form was created by the natural erosion of the rock over time (the ashlar supports of the slab were added sometime in the 1930s by the Department of Archaeology, Gwalior State).

Cave 12 consists of a niche containing a standing figure of Narasimha or N?si?ha, Vi??u in his 'Lion-man' incarnation. Below on either side are two small standing attendant figures. The images cut through a shell character about two meters in height. In the floor below N?si?ha there is a short Brahm? inscription.

Cave 13 contains a large figure of N?r?ya?a, the recumbent figure of Vi??u resting. Before the niche are two shallow  recess in the floor. These received pillar bases for some sort of porch. There is a shallow vertical recess above the cave, matched by a similar recess in the opposite cliff face, suggesting that there was some sort of architectural curtain wall across the passage at this point.

Cave 14, the last cave on the left hand side at the top of the passage. It consists of a recessed square chamber of which only two sides are preserved. The outline of the chamber is vissible in the floor, with a water channel pierced through the wall on one side as in the other caves at the site. One side of the doorjamb is preserved, showing jambs with receding faces but without any relief carving.


 

 

Location

Country
India
State
Madhya Pradesh
City
Vidisha
Location
Uadigiri
Address
Udayagiri Caves, Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh 464001
Contact Info
Phone:
Mobile :
Fax :
Near Cities
Nearest Bus Terminal
Vidisha
Nearest Railway Station
Vidisha (BHS)
Nearest Airport
Raja Bhoj International Airport
IN
latitude : 23.287500380 longitude :77.337402340
Corporation : Bhopal
GPS Code : VABP
Open Year
3rd Century

Nearest Places

  • The Udayagiri Caves are an early Hindu ritual site located near Vidisha in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Northern India. They were extensively carved and reworked under the command of Chandragupta II, Emperor of the Gupta Empire, in the late 4th and 5th century CE. One of India's most important archaeological sites from the Gupta period, it is currently a tourist site under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India.

  • Jungle resort located near by Halali River and Udayagiri caves. Jungle resort and Udayagiri caves distance is under 2km. Is one of the best resort in vidisha. The resort is a surprise with neat &clean rooms ( a/c, satellite TV, WC, geyser, spacious), Cordial staff and Boat club.

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