Udaygiri Caves

Vidisha, India

Udaygiri caves lie between the Rivers Bes and Betwa. It is a group of 20 caves, dating back to the 5th century AD and possibly constructed during the rule of Chandragupta-II. Most of these are rock-cut Hindu structures, other than Cave 20 and possibly Cave 1 which are Jainism-based. The caves have small chambers with Hindu idols carved into rock. The caves possess distinct features of Gupta dynasty architecture. The features include beautifully moulded capitals, the intercolumniation, characteristic design of the entrance and the system of continuing the architrave as a string-course round the entire structure. The shrines are increasingly spacious and ornate on the insides. Cave 1 has a fontage made from a natural ledge of rock, forming both the roof of the cellar and its portico. A row of four pillars bears the elegant ‘vase and foliage’ design. Cave 9 has remarkably large, 8 feet high pillars and a long portico. Cave 5 has the magnificent carving of Vishnu in his Varaha (Boar) avatar. Events depicted showcase the cosmic creation of order from chaos. Earth Goddess Prithvi can be seen arising from the Ocean.

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