Visit Undavalli Caves: An Exceptional Tourist Place in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh (2021)
The Undavalli Caves, a monolithic illustration of Indian rock-cut architecture and one of the finest recommendations to ancient Viswakarma sthapathis, are situated in Undavalli of Guntur district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. These caves are located 6 km southwest from Vijayawada, which lies 22 km northeast of the Guntur City of Andhra Pradesh.
Typically, Undavalli Caves is one of the centrally endangered monuments of national reputation. It’s quite an exertion of engineering. It’s also a stunning symbol of diversity, with different faiths all in the same space. Originally, it was used as a Buddhist monastery, and later the caverns were lived in by Jain monks. Lastly, the multifaceted acquired a Hindu temple under the supremacy of the Vishwakudina dynasty. There are numerous caves, and the top known largest one has four stories with an enormous reconstructed statue of Vishnu in a lounging posture, carved from a solo block of granite inside the second floor. Undavalli was initially a Hindu cave, similar to the architecture of Khandagiri and Udayagiri, and it is considered one of the top places to visit in Andhra Pradesh by tourists.
Formation of the Undavalli Caves:
Undavalli caves in Andhra Pradesh were engraved out of compact sandstone on a hillside in the 4th to 5th centuries CE. The core cave is one of the original examples of Gupta architecture, mostly primitive rock-cut monastery cells engraved into the sandstone peaks. Originally, the caves were cut as a Jain domicile, and the first-floor domicile still holds the Jain style; the vihara displays Jain monastics and contains Tirthankara statuaries. This first floor of the cave is a carved vihara and comprises Buddhist artwork. The spot served as the Bhikkhu monastic compound during the early period. The walls of the Undavalli caves show sculptures imprinted by skilled craftsmen. The Undavalli caves are bounded by green scenery. From the high hill overhead, the cave overlooking the Krishna River, numerous fine examples of rock-cut architecture can be seen. It is a striking four-story rock-cut shrine with an East fronting facade of 29m long, 16m wide. There is a disparity in the depth of the respective floor.
History of the Undavalli Caves:
The ground floor of the Undavalli cave is a fragmentary low pillared great hall with eight pillars and seven door openings on the front. The first floor accommodates a three-way shrine at the back, each with the pillared hall in forward-facing, formerly dedicated to the Trinity (Brahma, Siva, and Vishnu).
Figures on the walls of Undavalli caves represent Vaishnava idols. The second floor has a pillared rectangular memorial of Lord Vishnu on a Serpent. Sculptures of Vaishnava and Shiva or a few like the Vaishnava Alwars are carved later on. The top floor was incomplete with a Triple Shrine. Some of the carved specimens are credited to the Chalukyan era. It has a 5-meter-long sculpture of Lord Buddha in a reclining position. Yet, when viewed from a distance, this cave looks like a wild fort, but when getting close, you will get an exhilarating sight of a colossal sandstone cliff. Thus, it is apparent that Undavalli Caves don’t fit one particular religion. It has been inhabited and developed by people of diverse faiths. It has served as a divine center for three religious convictions at different time breaks. As a tourist, you get to see the fragments of all three beliefs under one roof!
Attractions at the Undavalli Caves:
- The 5-metre stretched statue of a lounging Vishnu engraved out of a single granite block.
- The faces carved into the entry of the caves.
- The pillars into which acts from the Ramayana are imprinted.
- Don’t miss out on the recurrent elephant and lion patterns.
Entry Fee and Timings of Undavalli Caves
The entry fee at Undavalli Caves near Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh is just Rs. 5 per person.
The Undavalli cave is open every day from 9 AM- 6 PM. Undavalli caves are one of the maximum visited destinations by inhabitants as well as the travelers.
How to Reach Undavalli Caves?
You can take a minicab from Vijayawada Airport, which is the adjacent airport to the location.
If you are traveling to Undavalli by train, you can easily get down at the Vijayawada Junction railway station, which is only 7 km away from the caves.
You can also travel by bus to the Undavalli Bus Stop, which is about only 30 mins away from the caves.
Things To Do Near Undavalli Caves:
- Visit The Very Famous Prakasam Barrage- a bridge that links the districts of Guntur and Krishna. Further than a kilometer long, extends the Krishna River and bids splendid views of the lake.
- Bhavani Island- Spread over 50 hectares right in the center of Krishna River, Bhavani Island is one of the major river islands in India. It counts amongst the top visitor places to visit in Vijayawada.
- Victoria Jubilee Museum- For a good dose of history, all the art and culture lovers can easily pay a visit to the commonly known as “Bapu” museum.
- Kanaka Durga Temple- Kanaka Durga Temple is the utmost revered Hindu temple in Vijayawada, with its history entangled with the uniqueness of the city.
- Explore The Natural Beauty- For all the nature lovers out there, you can enjoy the peaceful greenery of the caves and wander about the Rajiv Gandhi Park and also visit Besant road for delightful restaurants and shopping. It is also home to many iconic theatres.
Some Interesting Facts About Undavalli Caves:
There is a theory about the resting statue of Lord Vishnu (Padmanabhaswamy). Some archives suggest that this granite figure is a Buddha and not Vishnu. This might be an option as there are Buddhist caves and sculptures within Undavalli caves.
The major among Undavalli Caves is the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, which has four floors.
There is an alternative cave that is devoted to Hindu Trinities: Maheshwara, Lord Brahma, Vishnu.
The Undavalli caves are enclosed by greenery, which is nourished by the Krishna River.
There is a thrilling legend around the Undavalli cave – it tells that there is a 9 kilometers long underground passageway leading to the holy Mangalgiri mountain. Numerous locals have faith in its existence and contemplate that the entries have been closed and secreted by authorities to avoid accidents.
Undavalli Caves are one of the exceptional tourist places in Andhra Pradesh that you must not miss visiting during your vacation.