Udayagiri Caves, Bhopal
The Udayagiri Caves are known to be some of the oldest Hindu structures in India and were said to have been constructed by the Gupta Empire around the 5th century AD. The caves are known for their rock cut depictions of various Hindu deities and their incarnations.
Located at 85kms from Bhopal, Udaygiri Caves is known for their rock-cut cave. Situated in Sunpura and Udaygiri village of Vidisha district, these caves is the best example of classical Gupta arts. There are around 20 unique caves, one of the caves contains an inscription, which states that they belong to the age of Chandragupta II reign (AD 382-401) and they are numbered in the same series in which they were excavated.
Cave 1, one of the most famous cave has a front tailored out of a natural projection of rock, thus forming both the roof of the cellar and its porch is an impressive one. In cave 5 one can find the picture of the boar manifestation of Lord Vishnu rescuing the earth goddess Prithvi from the overwhelming Ocean, holding it upon one of its tusk. There is a second carving as well of Lord Vishnu in his lying down postures. Cave 7 on the other hand displays various items used by king Chandragupta-2 for his private needs and Cave 9 comprises of 2.5 m high pillars, pillared halls, large cellar and long entrance. Different from others, Cave 20 is highlighted with comprehensive Jain carvings. And not to miss one can also find the remnants of the 6th-century Gupta temple as well at the hill top.
Thus, the caves in short are a perfect weekend getaway for all the history loving people.
Best time to visit
Winters are the best time to visit.
Udayagiri means the ‘mountain of the sunrise’.
The caves are open from 10:00 a.m in morning until 6:00 p.m in evening.
The Udayagiri Caves feature some of the oldest Hindu images and cave temples in India. They are located near the city of Vidisha, northeast of Bhopal in the state of Madhya Pradesh. One of India’s most important archaeological sites from the Gupta period, the Udayagiri hills and its caves are an archaeological site under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India.
Udayagiri consists of two low hills immediately next to the River Bes. Located a short distance from the earthen ramparts of the ancient city site of Besnagar, Udayagiri is about 4 km from the 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 site is notable for its ancient monumental relief sculpture of Hindu god Vishnu, in his incarnation as the boar-headed Varaha, rescuing the earth symbolically represented by Bhudevi clinging to the boar’s tusk as described in Hindu mythology. 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. The complex consists of twenty caves, of which one is dedicated to Jainism and all others to Hinduism.