Khandagiri Caves are a group of ancient rock-cut caves located in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, India. These caves are believed to have been carved out of the hills during the 1st century BCE and were used by Jain monks as a dwelling place and a place of worship.
There are a total of 15 caves in Khandagiri, with the most famous ones being the Ananta cave, the Hathi Gumpha cave, and the Ganesh Gumpha cave. These caves are adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures that depict various scenes from the life of the Jain Tirthankaras and other important figures from Jainism.
The Ananta cave is the largest cave in Khandagiri and is known for its beautifully carved arches, pillars, and panels. The Hathi Gumpha cave, also known as the Elephant Cave, is named after the life-size elephant carving at its entrance. The cave also has inscriptions in Brahmi script that provide valuable information about the Kalinga Empire.
The Ganesh Gumpha cave is another important cave in Khandagiri, and is named after the Ganesh statue that is located inside the cave. This cave also has inscriptions that give insights into the life of King Kharavela, who is believed to have played a significant role in the development of these caves.
Apart from these three prominent caves, the other caves in Khandagiri also have their own unique features. Some of the caves are believed to have been used for meditation and spiritual practices, while others were used as residences for the Jain monks.
The Khandagiri Caves are not only important from a religious and historical perspective but are also a testament to the architectural and artistic skills of the ancient Indian civilization. The intricate carvings and sculptures in these caves are a testament to the creativity and dedication of the artisans who carved them.