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Ganesh Gumpha

Via Flickr:
Udayagiri & Khandagiri Caves One of the earliest groups of Jain rock-cut shelters, the caves of Udayagiri (Hill of Sunrise) and Khandagiri (Broken Hills) command a unique position in the filed of history, rock-cut architecture, art and religion. The two hills rise abruptly from the coastal plain, about six km west of Bhubaneswar, separated by a highway.

Called lena, in the inscriptions, the caves of Udayagiri and Khandagin are essentially dwelling retreats or cells of the Jain ascetics, opening directly into the verandah or the open space in front. Mostly excavated near the top of the ledge or boulder, they simply provided dry shelter for meditation and prayer, with very little amenities even for small comforts. The height being too low, does not allow a man to stand erect.

Each cell was tenanted by several monks. The cells are austerely plain, but their facades are encrusted with sculptures depicting auspicious objects worshipped by Jains, court scenes, royal processions, hunting expeditions and scenes of daily life. The austere later additions, when Jainism no longer enjoyed royal patronage in this part, show 24 Jain tirthankars. At present, all the important caves have been numbered for to avoid confusion in nomenclature.

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