Ratnagiri, Tourist places to Visit in Ratnagiri Odisha, Buddhist Site
Ratnagiri of the Birupa river valley in Cuttack district, Odisha approx 90 kn from Bhubaneswar is a famous Buddhist center. The small hill near the village of the same name has rich Buddhist antiquarian remains. A large scale excavation has unearthed two large monasteries, a big stupa, Buddhist shrines, sculptures and a large number of votive Stupas.
Ratnagiri Tourist Attractions
The excavation revealed the establishment of this Buddhist center at least from the time of the Gupta king Narasimha Gupta Baladitya (first half of the 6th century A.D.). Buddhism had developed at this place unhindered up to the 12th century A.D. In the beginning this was an important center of Mahayana form of Buddhism. During the 8th-9th century A.D. this became a great center of Tantric-Buddhism or Vajrayana art and philosophy. Pag Sam Jon Zang , a Tibetan source, indicates that the institutions at Ratnagiri plays a significant role in the emergence of the Kalachakratantra during the 10th century A.D. This is quite evident from the numerous votive Stupas with reliefs of divinities of the Vajrayana pantheons. Separate images of these divinitied and inscribed stone slabs and molded terracotta plaques with dharanis found in the excavation at Ratnagiri.
All the above indicates the importance of Ratnagiri as one of the main Buddhist centers of Orissa from very early times. The Mahavihara at Ratnagiri , as revealed from Orissan inscriptions, was a great center of learning in Buddhist philosophy. Presently this university of Buddhist learning is found in ruins which attract scores of visitors every year. For lovers of art and architecture, lay tourists and special groups, Ratnagiri offers in its magnificent ruins a large brick monastery with beautiful door-ways, cella, sanctum with a colossal Buddha figure and a large number of Buddhist sculptures. There is a smaller monastery at the place along with a stone temple, brick shrines and a large stupa with numerous smaller Stupas around.
How to Reach Ratnagiri
Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport at a distance of 90 kms to Ratnagiri
Closest Railway Station is Cuttack, 70 km away from Ratnagiri and is connected with all the major railway heads in the country.
Ratnagiri is well connected to Cuttack, through direct and regular bus service.
Where to stay
Based at Bhubaneswar, the Ratnagiri could be taken as an excursion. One can stay at the Trident or the Oberois.
Excursions – Tourist Places Near Ratnagiri
Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa is mere a 90 km away from Ratnagiri 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.
Lalitgiri and Udayagiri
The Lalitgiri 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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