Ratnagiri,Udayagiri,Lalitgiri - Travel to Buddha's Kingdom

Published: 12th May 2011
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The history of Buddha is a matter of contention amongst many historians. There is this group of old school of historians that stick to the fact that the enlightened one was born in modern day Nepal. While a group of recent historians and archeologists mostly from orissa claim Him to be belonging to Orissa and later having shifted to Varanasi. They cite the presence of four Buddhist universities in the state as support too.

Whatever be the claims of historians relating to Lord Buddha, the presence of so many Stupas and Viharas in orissa is pointer to the fact that Buddhism had once played an important part in the history of the state. Of all the monasteries that have been discovered in Orissa, the ones forming the Diamond triangle viz Udayagiri and Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri in the langudi hills are known for their magnificence . A tour to the diamond triangle takes you to a separate plane altogether. The place apart from being historically important is set in a locale that is simply marvelous.


Ratnagiri, on the bank of River Keluo, has produced the best find and has apart from the extensive Verandahs and Stupas a large khondalite Buddha image and remnants of about 24 cells for monks which were built of brick but had stone door frames. The intricate carving on the doorway of the back porch wall simply adds to the beauty of the entire structure. The site includes three monasteries (two quadrangular), eight temples and several stupas believed to date from the seventh century. Mentions about this monastery were found in Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese travellerís musings where he describes described it as one of Orissa's two Buddhist centers of learning


Udayaagiri has better preserved carvings of the three sites. . The monastery, within a large compound, has 18 cells with a veranda arranged around a courtyard. The 3-m Lokesvar Buddha image here has an eighth-century inscription on it.


Lalitgiri was excavated only in 1985 and the findings in the site included a 20-m-high apsidal temple have been found together with sculptures and decorated door jambs. A stone platform with inscriptions dates this site closer to the second century.

The Buddhist complexes of the Langudi hills are echoes of the civilization that once flourished in Orissa. And no matter what historians have to say about Buddha, accentuate the importance of Buddhists and Buddhist tradition in the modern day Orissa. The place is a must vist for not only history students but tourists also.

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