Saturday, December 30, 2017

Day Five - 12 Dec 2017


Mission Accomplished! Our group visited all the villages assigned to us and we could choose to join any other group to continue sketching a village or to have our own itinerary in the afternoon. Before that, all groups set off to visit Undavali Caves together in the morning so here is a sketch I did.

Left: Drawing by Mr. Peters - Panikkar, K. M. (1880) The Cave Temples of India.

Undavali Caves was located on the banks of Krishna River in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. This very popular tourist spot was around 10km from Vijayawada and 40km from the town of Guntur. Undavali caves were carved out of solid sandstone on a hillside in the 4th to 5th centuries A.D. There are several caves and the Undavali Caves were the best known and largest at four-storey high with a huge recreated statue of Vishnu in a reclining posture inside a room. It was sculpted from a single block of granite inside the second floor.

Undavalli caves were an example of how many Buddhist artifacts and stupas in Andhra were converted into Hindu temples and deities. It was originally a Jain cave resembling the architecture of Udayagiri and Khandgiri. The main cave was one of the earliest examples of Gupta architecture, primarily primitive rock-cut monastery cells carved into the sandstone hills. Initially the caves were shaped as a Jain abode and the first floor abode still retained the Jain style; the vihara exhibits Jain monastics and includes tirthankara sculptures. This first level of the cave was a carved vihara and included Buddhist art work.

The site served as the Bhikkhu monastic complex during ancient period. The walls of the caves displayed sculptures carved by skilled craftsmen. The caves were surrounded by the green countryside. From the high hill above the cave overlooking the Krishna River many fine specimens of rock cut architecture could be seen. It was a fine example displaying three religions - Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism in Undavali Caves.