Cave architecture is not new to India; the practice of building structures inside the cave was started in the ancient days that is during the third century BC. Most of the caves in India were used by the Buddhist and Jain monks. These caves were used as the Chaithyas and Viharas by the followers of Buddha. Many such caves can be found in different parts of india and one such cave in south india is the Undavalli caves. These caves are one of the examples of monolithic structures in South India. Let us now have a close look at the features of this cave.
The undavalli cave is the best example which substantiates the skills of the early people who had lived in our country. The cave is an ancient rock cut structure which is located at Undavalli village which is in Guntur district. This place is also known by other name that is the Ananthasayagudi. It is easy for the visitors to reach the destination as it is close to both Guntur city (22 kms) and Vijayawada (6 kms). The location of the caves makes it more attractive and more tourists visit this place in order to have a glance at the marvellous work done on the walls of the cave.
When we discuss about the construction of these great caves, it is still not clear about the date but evidences tells that its construction was done in between the fourth and fifth century AD. The solid sand stones found on the side of a hill were used by the early people to construct such a stunning structure. The largest among these caves have four stories and it has the statue of Lord Vishnu which can be seen in the second floor. The resemblance of the design of these caves some other caves like the Khandgiri and udayagiri caves, it is clear these were once used by the Jain monks. But later on the caves were captured by the hindus and converted it into a Hindu temple. One of the important feature of the sculptur of Lord Vishnu is that it is carved out of a single granite stone. The first floor of the caves still resembles the jain viharas and there are many structure of the tirthankaras of Jain religion. The walls of the caves have many structures carved out from the stone which reflects the skills of early craftsmen. The constructions of these caves were performed under the control of some jain king and we are not precise about his/her details. It is believed that the Vishnukudina kings are related to the construction of these caves as they were the rulers of the area during the fourth and fifth century AD. Some of the people of this area says that there is an underground passage in the Undavalli caves which leads to the Mangalgiri mountain.
As told earlier, now this cave is considered as a Hindu temple and this doesn’t mean that only pilgrims visit this place, people of different religion come from different parts of our country to this place. The location of the caves by the side of the hill makes it look more attractive and greenish appearance due to the presence of many big trees makes it a calm and quiet place. so this is a good place to hang out and people who are planning a trip to Andhra Pradesh should not miss a chance to visit the Undavalli caves. These caves will be opened for the public from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and it will be working on all days. The travelers should not worry about their stay backs and refreshments, facilities are available for the travelers to meet their basic needs. Cameras are allowed inside the caves which help the travelers to snatch the beauty of this gorgeous structure in their cameras. These caves give us an opportunity to walk through the history of South India.