There are many monolithic rock-cut caves in many places in India. Undaavalli caves located in Guntur city of Andhra Pradesh are among them. We already know about many famous caves made in this way, such as Ajanta, Ellora, and Elephanta Caves located in Maharashtra.

Huge Undaavalli Caves

Some other caves, which are less known, are the tiger caves in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, Kanheri caves in Mumbai, Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves in Odisha, Badami caves in Karnataka, and Udayagiri caves in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh. Bhimbetika Caves in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, which have ancient paintings on the rocks and some other caves of Chhattisgarh are prehistoric caves.

Undaavalli Caves

Some time ago I went to Amravati in Andhra Pradesh to enjoy a world dance and music festival. There was also an opportunity to participate in some exciting aerial sports, such as aerial walk by balloon, paragliding, etc. But the legacy could not ignore the signs of the heart associated with the heritage. So, despite the time, I took the time to visit Kuchipudi village, Kondapalli town, and Undavalli caves as well.

Although the Undaavalli caves are similar to other caves located in India, it also has a special uniqueness. It is a group of several miniature caves located on the arrow of Krishna river. Despite being under Guntur Nagar, these caves are located near Vijayawada Nagar and Amravati, the new fledgling capital of Andhra Pradesh.

The excavation era of the Undavalli caves

It is estimated that the excavation of the Undaavalli caves is under the rule of King Vishnukundi from 9th to 5th. Took place sometime in the middle of the century.How These caves date to the 16th. Till the century, royal patronage was enjoyed. But after that, it remained mostly unusable. After independence, the Archaeological Survey of India took it under its protection and declared it a national heritage.

Akhand Undaavalli Caves

Before reaching Undavalli, I came to know that the Undaavalli caves have been excavated from a monolithic rock surrounded by greenery. There is a man cave in the group of these caves which is four-storeyed. Within it are several cells and columns excavated in a systematic way. Tourists also mostly focus on this cave.

As soon as I reached Undavalli, my eyesight first fell upon a small cave with three holes. Over it, carvings of gazes and lions are engraved on it. An entire statue of Vishnu and an incomplete statue are engraved inside the niches above it. From this, it can be inferred that the work of these cave groups was in progress and was never completed.

After climbing some stairs, the main cave of four levels appeared before us. The upper cave of this cave was painted. I think this is a relatively new endeavor. It is worth noting in this cave that the life-size idols of four saints are placed on the third level of Aland. It depicts a saint playing an instrument like Tambhara. There are statues of lions on either side of them.

I tried to guess what these images meant. Are these statues of a guru and his three disciples? These statues did not match the statues of Jain sages or Buddhist monks. I could only see the idols of these sages. There was no way to get information about the facts. No notice plaques were present nearby.

Layered Undavalli Caves

The layered caves at Undavalli seemed extremely attractive overall. Each level was clearly visible. The lower level is not absolute. Its incompleteness is helpful for us. It provides technical information about the excavation. It is not known whether the layered caves were the pre-imagery of an architect or that the levels were excavated at different times respectively. Somewhere on the roof of the caves, there were signs of color. That is, at some time rangrogan was also done in these caves.

The pillars present in the caves give a feel of the Vijayanagar style. But it is said that the inspiration for the excavation of Mahabalipuram caves was received only after the excavation of the Undaavalli caves.

Undaavalli Caves Statues

Seshasayee Vishnu

The Sheshasayi Vishnu statue is the main and original statue of the Undaavalli caves. This proves that it is a Vaishnava cave temple. An enchanting figure of Garuda is engraved on the statue of this Sheshasayi Vishnu. In this craft, Garuda is looking at Lord Vishnu as if he is taking care that Lord Vishnu’s sleep is not disturbed. Vishal Sheshnag has given a base to his head and Fun is spreading over his head and giving him shade. At the same time, other gods and goddesses are admiring him from the sky.

Tree elimination yards

In many of the crafts of the Undaavalli caves, a figure appeared prominently, that is the shapes of the yards. They mainly depict yards eradicating trees.

Standing statue of Vishnu

This statue is installed within a niche. Peoples are so connected with Lord Vishnu and it is one of the biggest reasons for the popularity of this place.

Asanastha Ganesha Idol

Turmeric, vermilion, and flowers were offered on the idol of Ganesha who took the seat. This means that the worship of this statue is still performed today.

Narasimha avatar

There are many statues of Narasimha avatar in the Undaavalli cave. It’s no wonder. Narasimha is the practice of worship in Andhra Pradesh. A statue of Narasimha is in standing position in the Undaavalli cave. Narsimha figures are seen on many circular medallions on the pillars.

In Andhra Pradesh, the practice of worshiping Lord Vishnu in Narasimha avatar will be seen in many large temples here, such as the Sinhachalam temple near Visakhapatnam. Apart from Andhra Pradesh, I only know about Narasimha worship at some places in Himachal Pradesh. One of them is Sarahan.

Buddha, Jain, and Hindu Caves

The second floor of the Undaavalli cave has been designed in the Vishishtha Chaitya system. This proves that at some time it was a Buddhist cave. Some people believe that it was originally a Jain cave in which Buddhist monks entered later. After his departure, they were converted into Hindu Vaishnava caves.

According to me, finally Jainism and Buddhism are among many religions of Hinduism itself.

Visiting the Undavalli caves was for me to visit the impressions marked by each era respectively.

At last I circled around the hill and saw other small caves. Most of the carvings and statues located in them are almost finished with the help of time and Ritu. Although the trek from one cave to another was very enjoyable to see the greenery spread all around.


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