Monks, Caves and Kings: Walkers wow at exploring ancient cave building techniques

Bhubaneswar: During the 20th Monks, Caves and Kings heritage walk over Twin Hills Udayagiri and Khandagiri visitors today were surprised to discover beautiful, efficient, innovative and drainage-efficient caves across the Twin Hills.
Sandeep Kumar, from Kerala, presently working with All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Bhubaneswar, who joined the walk with wife Vandana TK, went inside the double-decker cave on the first floor of Rani Gumpha (Queen’s Cave), said “it is surprising that during such a primitive phase of cave building the artisans engaged by the Royals had such detailed understanding on all the elements of architecture and construction details. We are surprised to see all these.’’
Vandana said “I am new to Odisha as I have shifted recently from New Delhi. I am really happy to discover the old monuments and planning to join the Old Town Circuit of the Ekamra Walks very soon.’’
Former Vice-Chancellor Utkal University of Culture and eminent historian Professor Amiya Kumar Patnaik, who has written several research articles and books on the Twin Hills, said “the double-decker caves inside Rani Gumpha (first floor) was perhaps for the use of lady monks. The way and with the amenities the caves and interiors are done with precision, it seems, a lady from the Royalty might had embraced monkhood and for that the special caves were developed.’’
Three students from Institute of Cooperative Management, Bhubaneswar, top institute of the State Government to develop future managers in cooperative sector, participated in the walk. Snigdha Nahak, Abinash Behera and Pinaki Pani not only liked the tour, but also took part in the discussions among the visitors on the historic site, which is a well-known Jain shrine in the world.
Pinaki said “I have been to this place before, but knowing the various stories associated with the caves, kings and monks as told by the guide was a special experience.’’
Snigdha promised that she would tell her other friends at her institute to come and explore the site, which has not only caves, but pre-historic cave art, which could be more than 5,000 years old.

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