Top 6 Buddhist Heritage Sites In Odisha (2023)
Buddhism has begun to spread across Odisha after the invasion by Emperor Ashoka and the legendary Kalinga War, after which the Emperor embraced Buddhism, which is a religion of peace. Many monasteries and essential Buddhist settlements were built in the state of Odisha, and the most peculiar thing about this was that all of these were mostly built on hills. Today, these settlements and monasteries are well-known Buddhist heritage sites.
Top 6 Buddhist Heritage Sites In Odisha
Are you looking for a visit to these sites in Odisha? If yes, then scroll down.
1. The Diamond Triangle – Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri, and Udayagiri
One of the most popular Buddhist Circuit in Odisha, collectively known as the Diamond Triangle is situated about 100 Km from Bhubaneshwar. These include Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri, and Udaygiri, which are closely located to each other in Jajpur.
Lalitagiri is the oldest Buddhist site that has ruins of a monastery that was built in the 1st century AD. The monastery here was a centre for both Mahayana and Hinayana sects of Buddhism. This centre flourished till the 13th century. The ruins comprise the main stupa or Mahastupa, several Votive stupas, and prayer halls. Here the museum displays many amazing artefacts, which include statues of Lord Buddha, Tara, and Jambhala.
Udayagiri is another Buddhist heritage site located close to Lalitagiri. You can find the ruins of two monasteries at this place. There are remains of Mahastupas, excellent sculptures, and prayer halls. You can look at the great lion statue at the base of Udayagiri hill. Many native species of birds can also be spotted here.
One of the best-excavated Buddhist sites in Odisha is Ratnagiri, which, a time ago rivalled Nalanda. The monastery here is unique with the Mahastupa, votive stupas, commemorative stupas, and several statues of Buddha. Moreover, the intricately carved entrance gate of the monastery is worth admiring.
Site Information: These three Buddhist heritage sites, Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri, and Udaygiri, are in the Jajpur district, which is 100 km away from the state capital, Bhubaneshwar.
2. Dhauli and Dhaulagiri
Another top Buddhist heritage site in Odisha is Dhauli. This Buddhist destination keeps an important place in the history of Odisha, as it is believed to be the place where the Kalinga war took place. One can find some of the most popular rock edicts of king Ashoka in this place. It is considered that the rock-cut elephant found here above the edict is the earliest Buddhist sculpture in Odisha. Here, there are many ancient rock-cut Buddhist monuments set inside caves and also some newer peace pagodas, which were built by the Japanese Buddhist Sanga during the 1970s.
Site Information: This is just 8 km away from Bhubaneshwar. So, if you have been to the capital city of Odisha, then it would be an easy day trip for you to witness this Buddhist site.
Jiranga is known to be the little Tibet of Odisha in India. After the Chinese invasion of 1959, when the Tibetans fled their nation and came to India, a group settled here. The Padmasambhava Monastery was inaugurated here in 2010. You won’t find ruins here in Jiranga, but rather a living Buddhist culture. You will be amazed by the beauty of this site.
Site Information: Jiranga is closely located near Brahmapur city, which is at a distance of 100 km. If you are in Brahmapur and want to explore other things apart from Jiranga, then there are many more to it, including the well-known Gopalpur sea beach.
Kuruma comes next in the list among the top 6 Buddhist heritage sites in Odisha. Kuruma is a quiet village near Konark where you can see the ruins of a Buddhist monastery, dating back to the 9th and 10th centuries. Today, you can see the remains of blocks, shrines, and a courtyard here. This Buddhist heritage site in Odisha is close to the coast.
Site Information: This place is located 7 km away from Konark town, which is the home to the popular Sun Temple.
5. Balasore and Bhadrak District
Balasore is a great place for tourists and a lot of tourist attractions like the Chandipur beach, Khirachora Gopinath Temple, ancient palaces, etc. make this place one of the most visited places in Odisha for travellers. However, what is least known about this place is its connection with Buddhism and Buddhist sites. Here, you can find the ruins of a Buddhist monastery and temple in Kupari. Many statues and Buddhist ruins can also be seen across the Balasore district, such as Khadipada and Soro.
At about 65 km away from Balasore is the Kupari village of Bhadrak district. Here also you can find the ruins of an ancient Buddhist monastery and temple.
Site Information: Balasore district is at a distance of 194 km from the state capital, Bhubaneshwar and 150 km away from Kolkata. Bhadrak is situated about 65 km from Balasore.
Odisha houses a lot of surprising Buddhist heritage sites. One of those is Langudi, which is in Jajpur. There are several monuments and ruins found on the top of a hill in Langudi. These ruins were identified as Pushpagiri. Some of the ruins here are the remains of rock-cut stupas, statues, rock-cut caves, and sculptures.
Site Information: This amazing Buddhist heritage site in Odisha is located close to Lalitagiri and Udaygiri, and is just at a distance of 20 km from these two sites. So, if you are on the Diamond Triangle Tour, then do not forget to visit Langudi too.
Odisha has a lot to offer you if you are enthusiastic about the Buddhist religion or if you need to check out some of the best Buddhist sites in the state. You can pack your bags and board the flight to Odisha and experience the beauty of these top 6 Buddhist heritage sites in the state.