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History amidst Caves

History as a subject may be considered as a repellant entity by many but if you keep the bookish scenario aside and decide to explore it by yourself, you are surely in for a treat. The default definition of history has places such as Qutub Minar, Lal Kila and many other embedded in it, but if you want to step aside from the regular, caves of Udayagiri is one such option.

Advised by our college professor, Udayagiri didn’t seem that promising in the beginning but after some Googl(e)ing, we knew we had found our next travel destination. Udayagiri (which literally means mountains of sunrise) caves are proudly located in the Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh and have been under the care and maintenance of ASI. The caves are a huge asset of Vidisha which itself was the provisional capital of the renowned Gupta Empire.

If you get highly astonished by historical images and facts then a visit to these caves is highly recommended. So here’s a quick historical insight from my end. Udayagiri caves are famous for its rock-cut images and sanctuaries that had been carved centuries ago. The sculptures of Lord Vishnu in his boar-headed incarnation “Varaha” is among the various famous sculptures in the site. The prominent inscription of the Gupta dynasty during the reigns of Mauryagupta I and Chandragupta I are also present at the site. The caves are not just a significant symbol of our rich past but are also a fortunate possessor of an array of rock shelters, water systems, fortifications and much more. It is believed that the famous iron pillar at Delhi was initially located at Udayagiri. Caves under the similar name are also present in the state of Orissa.

The Udayagiri caves have been numbered which makes it easy for the tourists to conveniently visit the caves. The caves that are numbered 1, 3, 5, 6 and 13 are among the most visited caves. Among these caves, Cave 8 has its own discrete feature as there is a passage, which starts beside Cave 8 and runs from east to west, however, the passage has been altered a number of times by the concerned authorities. It is believed that during the ancient period the passages were used to serve as water cascades for the kingdom.

So, if you go ‘ZZzzzz’ when you hear the word ‘History’, the caves of Udayagiri will surely change your perception.

Travel assistance to Udayagiri :
Nearest airport: Bhopal, 60 kms from Vidisha
Nearest Railway station: Sanchi railway station

Cab Fair to Vidisha from Udayagiri : Rs. 650/person

Contributed by Manish Kukreti