Planning the Trip
After 12th exams, a few of my friends and I decided to go on a road trip. We got permission from our parents to go for just one day, as they thought we were still young. They wanted an elder to supervise us on the trip, but we insisted on going and enjoying by ourselves, even if just for one day.
We decided to go someplace not too far away. There were many places nearby Bhubaneshwar, but we wanted something different for our first trip without adults. Something that could be quite fun and also teach us something about our heritage as we were all extremely enthusiastic about history. And we finally decided on visiting G. Udayagiri, which was not very close yet not very far away from Bhubaneshwar.
After finalising Udayagiri as our day-trip destination, we needed a car to go there. Going by public transport would not be an enjoyable experience, and our parents too were not comfortable with us using public transport without an elder. They wanted to rent a reliable and affordable AC car in Bhubaneswar to ensure our safety.
We did a simple search for a taxi on the internet and Saavari came as one of the top results. We headed over to the Saavari website and left them a message. Within minutes, a Saavari executive called us back to know the details of our trip. After we explained what we wanted to do, the customer support suggested a suitable and affordable package accordingly.
Travel to Udayagiri
All of us had planned to start early in the morning so that we get ample time to enjoy our trip as we had to return by the next day. So we asked the Savaari chauffer to arrive early in the morning, and he arrived at our doorstep on time.
The driver was courteous as he didn’t treat us as youngsters and asked for our opinions on the route to take. This proved that he was a professional and an expert at his job. The distance was slightly long, but the drive was certainly comfortable, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly through the way. In fact, the driver also accompanied us in playing some games through the journey.
Udayagiri caves are a perfect example of architectural marvels in India. The caves are of great historical importance due to the Buddhist monasteries, stupas and various architectural ruins of Jains. And the natural beauty around the caves added to their charm.
We started with the main attraction, the Sunrise Hills, a common name for Udayagiri caves where there are large sculptures and inscriptions carved on the inner wall of the 18 caves. Most of the caves and the sculptures found here were made by cutting rocks. After this, we headed over to the Khandagiri caves, which is a cluster of 15 caves. On the hilltop, there is a majestic Jain temple dating back to the 18th century. Beautifully carved, the temple overflows with mesmerising sculptures.
After seeing all the caves in the area, we started off to the Dhaulagiri. Here we went to the Shanti Stupa which is a white pagoda built on a hill. It is home to Buddha statues and is a famous Buddhist pilgrimage. There is a Shiva temple on the same hill, which also has great prominence in the area. Both these places attract a lot of pilgrims throughout the year.
Post this, it was almost lunchtime. So we sat under a tree and spread our blanket. We spent some time relaxing and having our food. We insisted that the driver share some of our food as well, and he seemed grateful for it.
After lunch, we proceeded towards Lalitgiri, which was only a few kilometres away from where we were. Lalitgiri along with Udayagiri and Ratnagiri form the Buddhist complex. It has a grand museum having the relic casket with the bones of Gautam Buddha. There are also the ruins of the brick monastery and stupas. All together they form a magnificent site.
We did wish to visit Ratnagiri as well, but it was at some distance from Udayagiri, and by this time, it was already evening. So we started our return journey to Bhubaneshwar, after having a beautiful day amid magnificent Buddhist and Jain ruins.
How to reach Udayagiri from Bhubaneshwar
Udayagiri is quite close to Bhubneshwar. So, you could easily take any local public transport like bus or auto to commute. For sightseeing its recommended to go by car or taxi, so that you have the flexibility following your own timetable and not worry about seeing things according to the availability of public transport.
Renting a car was quite beneficial for us. Not only did the driver ensure that we were comfortable throughout our journey, he was polite and ensured that any needs that we had were met. Renting a Saavari cab ensured a hassle-free journey and a safe journey for us. The Savaari chauffer dropped each of us back to our homes at the end of our journey.
Distance and time took
The distance from Bhubaneshwar to Udayagiri is 85 km and takes about 2 hours to complete the journey. Given the heat, always get an AC taxi in Bhubaneswar, preferably with Savaari.
Visiting the Buddhist Complex of Udayagiri, Ratnagiri and Lalitgiri is an experience of a lifetime. Must visit to see the architectural marvel of rock-cut sculptures and caves.