Lalitgiri, Tourist Places to visit in Lalitagiri, OdishaBuddhist Site
Lalitgiri (Lalitagiri) also known as Naltigiri is a major Buddhist complex in the Indian state of Odisha comprising major stupas, ‘esoteric’ Buddha images, and monasteries (viharas), one of the oldest sites in the region.
It is situated in the Mahanga Tahsil in Cuttack district. Bhubaneswar, the state capital of Odisha (Orissa) , is 90 kilometres from the site, while Cuttack is 60 kilometres away; Udaigiri is 8 kilometres from Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri is a further 5 kilometres away.
LALITGIRI TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Lalitgiri, the earliest Buddhist complex of 1st century A.D. and which forms a part of the mini golden triangle, is well connected to Bhubaneswar by a good road. The recent excavation has brought to light significance archaeological material which upholds Lalitgiri as a great center of Buddhist attraction.
Lalitgiri lies majestically in the ruins singing the glory of a past heritage. The huge brick monastery, the remains of a chaitya hall, a number of votive stupas and a renovated stone stupa at the apex of a small rugged sand stone hill dominates the rural greenery around.
In addition, the museum displays large number of Mahyana sculptures consisting of colossal Buddha figures, huge Boddhisattva statue, Tara, Jambhala etc. Intrestingly, most of these sculptures contain short inscriptions on them. The standing Buddha figures with the knee-length draperies over the shoulders reminds one the influence of the Gandhara amd Mathura school of art. This also brings to mind the fact that Prajna, who had come from Takshasila to ancient Orissa to learn the yoga philosophy, later left for China with the autographed manuscript of Buddhist text Gandavyuha from the then Orissan king Sivakara Deva I to the Chinease Emperor Te-Tsong in eight century A.D.
The discovery of caskets containing sacred relics, probably of the Tathagata himself, from the stone stupa at the top of the hill further enhances the sacredness of the stupa and the place for the Buddhists of the world. It also brings to mind the description of Hiuen Tsang, the Chinease traveller of the 7th century A.D. about the magnificent stupa on top of a hill at Puspagiri Mahavihara which emitted brilliant light because of its sacredness. The search is on for the identification of Puspagiri with Lalitgiri.
All the above make Lalitgiri the first priority for the tourists, particularly the special groups from the Far-East as well as South-East Asian countries.
HOW TO REACH
It is situated in the Mahanga Tahsil in Cuttack district. Bhubaneswar, the state capital of Odisha, is 90 kilometres from the site, while Cuttack is 60 kilometres away; Udaigiri is 8 kilometres from Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri is a further 5 kilometres away.
Air : Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport. Well connected to Lalitgiri by bus.
Train : Bhubaneswar is the nearest railhead well connected to major cities through broad gauge network.
Road : Lalitgiri is well connected with Bhubaneswar, and other cities through a good road-network.
Where to stay
Based at Bhubaneswar, the Lalitgiri could be taken as an excursion. One can stay at the Trident or the Oberois.
Excursions – Tourist Places Near Lalitgiri
Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa is mere a 90 km away from Lalitgiri but a reasonably good place to visit as the road communication is quite good. It’s a renowned Hindu pilgrimage with as many as 500 temples, architecturally brilliant and excellent for studying the architectural styles of 3rd Century. The Lingaraja temple, Kalinga Buddha Vihara, the Jaggannatha temple and the Mukteshwar temple is also a big attraction for the tourists. The place is also a shopping destination in Orissa.
Ratnagiri and Udayagiri
The Ratnagiri and Udayagiri hills are nearby and offer an excellent addition for the Buddhist pilgrims to go through some other important ancient Buddhist remains and taste the ancient art sculptures.
The recent excavations, revealing some interesting facts, in the Langudi hills that are worth a watch with utmost interest. There are many Stupas cut out from rock grabbing attention, the Buddha in Samadhi-mudra, Sculpture of Goddess Tara, the harmonic umbrella, the Cylin dome etc have revealed a new chapter in the Buddhist tourist destinations.
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