An epic example of Indian rock-cut architecture, the Undavalli Caves are located in the village of Undavalli in Tadepalli Mandal in Guntur District. Located near to the southern bank of Krishna River, it is one of the most popular tourist spots. It is about 6 km south west from Vijayawada, 22 km north west of Guntur City and about 280 km from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
Been carved out of solid sandstone on a hillside in the 4th to 5th centuries A.D., these caves have been built during the Gupta period and is one of their finest architectural contributions. The best known and largest of the cave is the one with four stories. It has a huge statue of Lord Vishnu in a reclining posture sculpted from a single block of granite inside the second floor. There are other sculptures as well within the Undavalli cave temple, which are also quite impressive. There is exciting legend about the cave, which tells that, it has a 9 kilometres long underground passage, leading to the sacred Mangalgiri Mountain. Other shrines inside the cave are dedicated to Trimurti: to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Primarily primitive rock-cut monastery cells, these carves are made out of sandstone hills. Initially caves were shaped as a Buddhist monastery and the first floor still retains style of Buddhist vihara, including some Buddhist sculptures. The walls of the caves display sculptures carved by skilled artisans.
Associated with the Vishnukundina kings of 420 to 620 A.D., Undavalli caves are dedicated to Anantapadmanabha Swamy and Narisimha Swamy. The green lofty picturesque landscape around the caves makes it even more loved by the tourists. The interesting part about visiting these places is the fact that it includes little adventurous strikes along with enjoying the majestic beauty of nature.
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