|The Undavalli Caves The Mysterious India|
|The Undavalli Caves Wikipedia|
The Undavalli Caves in the village of Undavalli in Tadepalli Mandal in Guntur District, near the southern bank of Krishna river, Andhra state are unique, following the principles of Indian rock-cut architecture. They are just 6 km south west of Vijayawada and can be accessed from NW of Guntur City, about 22 kilo meters.
The terrain where the caves lie is made of sedimentary rocks, in particular, sandstone. Obviously, the caves are cut into solid sandstone on a hillside and they belong to the 4th to 5th centuries A.D. Among the many caves, the popular and largest one has four stories with a huge statue of Lord Vishnu in a reclining posture ( Ananthasayanam) sculpted from a single block of granite inside the second floor. Inside the cave, there are other small shrines, dedicated to Trinity Gods (Trimurti): Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Main cave represents the earliest examples of Gupta architecture, with primitive rock-cut monastery cells carved into the sandstone hills. The overall shape is that of a Buddhist monastery, however, the first floor still retains the style of Buddhist Vihara, including some Buddhist artwork. There are several sculptures carved on the wall by the skilled craftsmen.
It is strongly believed the caves at Undavalli are closely linked to the Vishnukundina kings of 420 to 620 A.D as they happened to be ardent devotees of Ananta Padmanabha Swamy and Narisimha Swamy. Overlooking the Krishna River, the caves that exemplify Hindu architecture are in the midst of serene greenery. Hence, the Buddhist monks, in those days, used this place for rest, relaxation and meditation.