excavations continue, more and more Buddhist complexes are coming into
light. One of these is the Buddhist complex at Udayagiri. Recent excavations
done by the Archaeological Survey of India in the state of Orissa (Kalinga
in the ancient times) prove that in the distant past there existed a
monastery by the name Madhavapura Mahavihara. The monastery comprises of a
number of Buddhist sculptures that are worth seeing and experiencing. The
whole area lies at the foot of a hill that forms an impressive backdrop.
Historians state that the monasteries date back between the 7th and 12th
centuries AD. More excavations are on the cards as the region seems to be a
major Buddhist site. Art lovers, history buffs, researchers and travellers
from all part of India and the world flock to the place to gain an insight
into the history of Buddhism.
Location & Climate
Udayagiri lies in the eastern Indian state of Orissa and is the largest
Buddhist complex of the state. The town lies at a distance of 6 km from
Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa. Udayagiri experiences a coastal climate.
Summers are mild and winters are comfortable. So, there are no extremes in
the temperature and one can visit the town just anytime of the year.
Udayagiri forms the Buddhist Triangle along with Ratnagiri and Lalitgiri.
The famous Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang paid a visit to Orissa (Kalinga in
the past) was taken aback to see the University of Puspagiri under the
Buddhist complex. He later mentioned the existence of a number of Buddhist
monasteries in the region.
» Buddhist Complex :
Udayagiri is located just a few
kilometres from Ratnagiri. Recent excavations have resulted in rediscovering
a sprawling Buddhist complex here. The huge complex comprised of many
monasteries and stupas. The remains of the complex that include brick
monasteries, brick stupas, various sculptures and ancient inscriptions are
truly a worth seeing and experiencing.
» Ratnagiri :
Ratnagiri was an important centre of
Buddhism. The Buddhist monks practised Vajrayana, the Tantric form of
Buddhism, here. The place served as a major Buddhist centre between the 6th
and the 12th centuries. Here, one can see numerous images of Lord Buddha and
other Buddhist deities.
» Lalitgiri :
Lalitgiri is a window to the Buddhist
faith that flourished here from 3rd century BC to the 15th century BC. The
remains excavated here include large brick-built monasteries, stupas and
chaitya halls. The ASI Museum at Lalitgiri also gives an interesting insight
into the Buddhist history. At the museum, you can see Mahayana sculptures
and life-size images that bear inscriptions from the past.
» Langudi Hills :
Langudi Hills is yet another
important Buddhist site in the state of Orissa. Archaeological discoveries
have unearthed some crucial remains of the Buddhist art here. The remains
include two inscribed images of king Ashoka. In one of the images, Ashoka
can be seen alone while in the other he poses with two of his queens.
Bhubaneswar is a few minutes drive from Udayagiri. The capital city has a
number of stay options ranging from luxury to economy class hotels. Rooms of
the hotel are well furnished and the services are world class. Some popular
hotels of the city are as follows.
Hotels in Udayagiri
¤ Hotel Trident Hilton (5 Star)
¤ Hotel Oberoi (5 Star)
¤ Hotel Sishmo (4 Star)
¤ The Crown (3 Star)
¤ Mayfair Lagoon (3 Star)
Bhubaneswar (6 km from Udayagiri), the capital of Orissa, has its own
airport with connecting flights to places like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai,
Mumbai, Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad etc. Rail route is also well established.
The railway station has regular express trains linking with some of the key
destinations like Kolkata, Puri, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Guwahati,
Hyderabad, Tirupati and Trivandrum. An excellent road network connects
Bhubaneswar to the major cities and towns of the state and the country.