Orissa Buddhist Sites
Orissa is one of the states in India that abound in Buddhist sites and monuments. The ancient rock edicts to the intricately carved stupas and fabulous Buddhist monasteries and temples have made Orissa a must visit place for those interested in Buddhism. However, it was under the reign of Emperor Ashoka that Orissa became one of the major centers of Buddhism in the country.
Most Popular Buddhist Monasteries in Orissa
Ratnagiri is another famous Buddhist centre. The “Diamond Triangle” which consists of Ratnagiri, Udayagiri, and Lalitagiri, is considered to be one the richest area for the important Buddhist ruins of ancient times. A large-scale excavation has unearthed a big, two large monasteries, Buddhist shrines, sculptures and a large number of votive stupas. Ratnagiri offers a large monastery with beautiful doorways, sanctum with a colossal Buddha figure and a large number of Buddhist sculptures for the lovers of art and architecture.
It is located in the Mahanga block of Cuttack district. It is 90km away from Bhubaneswar. The other name of Lalitgiri is ‘Nalitgiri’. The museum is the main attraction in which people can see the bones of Gautama Buddha with other archaeological findings. There is a vast Stupa and containers made of Silver Khondalite, Stealite and gold are also present in Lalitgiri.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri
Udayagiri and Khandagiri are historic remnants of India’s rich past, situated on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. Udayagiri means Sunrise Hill, consists of 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves. Most of the caves have been carved out by Jain monks and artisans from the times of King Kharavela. Some of the caves are rock cuts and are believed to have been dwelling cells and meditation quarters for Jain monks of the time. These caves are not just a testimony to the architectural marvel of ancient India, but these also give messages of compassion, love and religious tolerance which is very relevant in today’s world.
Dauligiri or Shanti Stupa stands beside Daya River. This represents and tells us about the braveness of Kalinga warriors, who sacrificed their lives to protect their motherland. Similarly it represents the power of non-violence, where a cruel king Chandashoka converted into Dharmashoka, a simple and peace loving person. The evidence of his transformation can be seen in the form of a rock edict marked by the image of an elephant sculpted from the overhanging rock.
Chandragiri is famous for the Buddhist monastery and the Tibetan settlement; it is also called as ‘Mini-Tibet’. The rare scenic beauty and the picturesque landscape surrounded by luxuriant tropical forest, gurgling rivers, and mountain slopes and roaring hilltops makes it a perfect place for travelers.