The state of Orissa has many temples and wildlife hubs quite popular among the tourist circle of the country. But the state is also known enough for its Buddhist heritage. Many Buddhist structures such as Chaityas, stupas, caves etc and also Buddhist excavation sites present in the state talk about a strong influence of Buddhism over the state of Orissa. In the ancient times, Orissa was referred to as Kalinga.
This is the same place where the great battle of Kalinga was fought killing thousands and that landmark historical event that led to the transformation of Samrat Ashoka from Chand Ashoka to dharma Ashoka. After seeing all the bloodshed in the battlefield of Kalinga, Emperor Ashoka was deeply grieved and repented. He took refuge in Buddhism with the intention of washing away his sins and soon after constructed several Buddhist edifices in and around Orissa. This 3 Nights / 4 Days Buddhist pilgrimage trip of Orissa will take you on a tour of all the Buddhist destinations that Orissa is known for.
- Visit and exploration of Udayagiri and Khandagiri rock cut caves
- Dhauli giri hills excursion
- Tourist sightseeing in Bhubaneshwar
- Visit to the buddhist sites of Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri
- Half day sightseeing in cuttack
Odisha Buddhist Tour Itinerary
Day 1 :Arrive Bhubaneshwar
Upon your arrival at Bhubaneshwar airport/railway station, you’ll be greeted by our tour manager who then escorts you to your pre-booked hotel. Check into hotel, freshen up and later proceed to visit the rock-cut caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri. These caves are actually a conglomeration of ornately carved caves located atop two adjacent hillocks. These caves date back to 2nd century BCE. There are 18 caves in total atop Udayagiri and 15 caves in total atop Khandagiri. These caves were dwelling places of Jain monks once upon a time. Among these caves, the caves of Rani Gumpha, Hathigumpha, Ananta Gumpha, and Ganesha Gumpha are the most famed ones. Post-visit we return to hotel for dinner and night stay.
Day 2 :At Bhubaneshwar
Next day post breakfast we make an excursion to Dhauli Giri or Dhauli hills; a prominent Buddhist pilgrimage site located at a distance of 8kms from the capital city of Orissa. The hill stands along the banks of River Daya. The hills are of epic importance as legends tell that Dhauli was actually the battleground of Kalinga war. Huge magnitude of human slaughter during the war, as per tales, had made the waters of River Daya gored; a sight that made Emperor Ashoka Change his mind and his ways. This is the place that had witnessed the transformation of Ashoka; the end of his cruel aspects and the rise of a devout follower of Lord Buddha in him. Soon after his transformation, Emperor Ashoka had built several Buddhist structures all across Dhauli Hills among which the most notable attractions are the Shanti Stupa or Peace Pagoda and the Edicts of Emperor Ashoka. After visiting these attractions, we proceed to explore the wildlife at Nandankanan Zoological Park cum Botanical Garden. The park was set up in the year 1960 and is home to many exotic fauna and flora. The park sprawls across 400 hectares of area and falls within the densely forested belts of Chandaka. Post-visit we return to hotel. Evening is left free for us to enjoy at leisure. Dinner and night stay at hotel.
Day 3 :Bhubaneshwar – Lalitgiri – Ratnagiri – Cuttack
Next morning we depart from Bhubaneshwar to reach Cuttack, the state’s former capital and en route we visit two other important Buddhist destinations; i.e. the excavation sites of Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri. These two destinations bear some of the best specimens of Buddhist art and culture. At Lalitgiri, you can visit a museum exhibiting Lord Buddha’s bones. Also, there’s one big stupa plus a vast array of containers. At Ratnagiri; a 12th-century old Buddhist destination, you can witness several small and big stupas of varied materials, shapes and sizes. From Ratnagiri, we head straight to Cuttack. On reaching, we check into hotel and later proceed to visit two major attractions of Cuttack; the Barabati Fort and the Chandi Mata Temple. The former is a 14th-century fort belonging to the era of the Ganga Dynasty and standing atop the delta of River Mahanadi while the latter is the temple of Maa Cuttack Chandi; the presiding deity of the city of Cuttack. Post-visit we return to hotel for dinner and night stay.
Day 4 :Cuttack – Bhubaneshwar and Departure
Post breakfast, we’ll drive back to Bhubaneshwar and you’ll be dropped at the airport/railway station where our tour manager will see you off as you proceed for your onward journey back home enlightened and rejuvenated to the very core!.
- Meals as per itinerary
- Accommodation as per itinerary
- Pick up and drop off service
- Guided sightseeing tour
- Driver allowance, parking charges, toll taxes, fuel price
- Any expense of personal nature
- Extra charges in case of an emergency
- Shopping, tipping, portage, laundry
- Monument entrance fees, camera charges
- Anything not in the inclusions section
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q.How old are the Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves?
A. The ornate caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri were carved out during the 1st century BCE.
Q.What is the importance of Khandagiri caves?
A. The Khandagiri caves are an important place of Jain pilgrimage.
Q.What are the top beaches in Bhubaneshwar?
A. Here are the top beaches in bhubaneshwar: Balighai beach, Puri beach, Chandrabhaga beach, Aryapalli beach, Astaranga beach etc.
Q.Why is Lalitgiri important?
A. Lalitgiri is the 1st century buddhist complex in Odisha.
Q.How far is Cuttack from Bhubaneswar?
A. Cuttack is about 45 minutes away from Bhubaneswar.