Saturday, September 7, 2013

Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri, and Udayagiri, Buddhist destinations in Odisha, India

Ratnagiri, Odisha India
Bihar is the land of Viharas, and Uttar Pradesh is not behind either but not many of us know that Odisha also houses the remains of quite an extensive and sacred Buddhist complex dating back to the 3rd century BC. Tucked away in the greenery of Mahanadi basin, there are these imposing remains of a Buddhist monastery complex in Odisha. This complex is known as Pashupagiri and the three destinations are Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, and Udaygiri. These points form the diamond triangle of Buddhist destination in Odisha.

It is easy to reach these destinations. The nearest airport is in Bhubaneswar which is around 100 kms away, and the nearest railway station is in Cuttack which is 70 kms away from this triangle.

Lalitgiri is the oldest out of the three sites, this site has the remains of several brick monasteries, votive stupas, a stone stupa (which has been renovated), and a lot of sculptures with inscriptions on them. This stone stupa is on top of a hill and is considered very sacred because the ASI found golden caskets containing sacred bone relics believed to be of Gautama Buddha in 1985.

Ratnagiri, the 2nd Buddhist destination, also houses a lot of large monasteries, stupas, shrines, and sculptures dating back to the 6th century AD.

Udayagiri the third site has the largest number of Buddhist complexes. There are several brick monasteries, rock-cut sculptures, step wells dating back to the 7th-12th century AD. Among other things, there is a double story monastery which has a water reservoir, and many more features.

These Buddhist sites are definitely not to be missed by anyone who is interested in Buddhism and Buddhist sculptures. It is strange that not many people in India know of these amazing Buddhist sites.

These pictures are courtesy Soma Jha.

Lalitgiri in Odisha

Buddhist destination in
Odisha, India
Sculptures in the Buddhist
site in Ratnagiri, Odisha

Step well in Udayagiri
Odisha, India
A sculpture in Udayagiri
Buddhist site in Odisha, India


Indrani said...

Treasures of our country. Such grand shots!

Ankur Anand said...

wonderful places !

Ranjana Jha said...

Indrani, Ankur,

Thanks so much!
These are so out of the world and not many people know about the existence of these beautiful Buddhist sculptures and monasteries in Odisha!