Khandagiri Caves, Bhubaneshwar
7 kms from Bhubaneshwar are the twin hills of Udaygiri and Khandagiri.
Twin hills honey-combed with Jain caves that reveal the sculptural art of the 2nd century BC makes an interesting study of the life and times of Jain ascetics. Built by Kharavela for Jain monks, these are fine specimens of Jain Cave art. The coarse -grained sandstone which forms Khandagiri and Udayagiri rises nearly 40m above the surrounding lateritic and infertile plain. Khandagiri has 19 caves and Udaigiri has 44 caves.
The hills are literally filled with caves and over recent years the preservation of the rare carvings and general structure of the site has been the focus of a great deal of attention from the Archaeological Survey of India.
Khandagiri caves can be reached via the steps next to the entrance to the Udayagiri caves. The caves 1 and 2 are known as the Parrot Caves because of the birds carved over the doorways. The Ananta Cave (cave 3), with its carved figures of elephants, and women which are worth a visit. It has the best sculptures of the Khandagiri Caves.
A short but steep path leads to the top of the hill from where a panormic view of the city is obtainable.
At the top also lies an 18th century temple that is dedicated to Mahavir, the 24th tirthankara (Jain teacher).