My travels is all about... My views on random places of interest, persons, things, events & issues etc,.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Rock cut cave temple of Undavalli

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As a passenger of APSRTC, I consider myself duly punished for my lack of attentiveness. I was supposed to get down at Undavalli, but skipped the stop and got down only at the next village, Penumaka. New route for me but most of the passengers in the bus are employees of the State Government, commuting towards our new capital, Amaravati. But, my destination was the famous Rock-Cut Cave temple at Undavalli. Well, a good 2 kilometers walk-back never did any harm, especially on a cloud kissed sunny day.

After the false start, it was a good visit. As I climbed the steps towards the main cave temple, surrounded by lush green paddy fields atop a hill with the distant Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station in the vicinity, I was struck by the history of the cave(s). They belong to early 4th or 5th Century, originally Jain structures, but were later converted into a Buddhist Bhikku Monastry. Much later still, probably during the era of the Ikshvakus or Reddy Kings, a part of the cave(s) were rechristened for Hindu deities. The monoliths are amazing, what with the carvings and all, considered as 'Vishwakarma Stapathis' i.e, designed by the celestial engineer Vishwakarma himself.
An inner chamber consisting of a large statue of Sri Maha Vishnu in a reclining state (Ananatasayana posture) is all that's left and protected now. Watching the intricately carved monolith statue reminded me of the famous poem by Bammera Potana  in 'Gajendra Moksham', -

అల  వైకుoఠపురం లో  నగరిలో  నాముల  సౌధంబుదా 
పల  మందారవానాంతరామృతసర :  ప్రాంతేందుకాంతోపలో
త్పలపర్యం కరమావినోదియగునాపన్న ప్రసన్నుoడు వి  
హ్వల నాగేంద్రము పాహి పాహి యన గుయ్యాలించి సంరంభియై !

There were two other caves, intricately carved, yet unfinished. Later, I returned to the city of Victory, along with many of the shuttling employees from the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. 
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References (If any)

1. Place and Date -
@ - Undavalli, CRDA - Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.
On -31st of August, 2017

2. Subject - "Rock cut cave temple of Undavalli"
Undavalli caves, or more popularly the rock cut cave temple of Undavalli in the district of Guntur is located exactly 6 kms from Vijayawada in the new Vijayawada - Amaravati State highway. It is a popular destination, and a monument of national importance, although crying for major potential as a historical and tourist spot. Pictured above in order - A side view full hill, Lord Sri maha Vishnu in anantasayana stance, and the main cave temple entrance.