Buddhist site in Orissa
In May 2010, I had visited Orissa to be a part of Buddha Purnima celebration which held on May 27.
Even though, Lord Buddha never visited Orissa during his lifetime, still this eastern state of India is dotted with several famous Buddhist sites. These places are perfect testimony of Orissa's close link with Buddhism religion. Most of the stupas and monasteries in the state were created by Ashoka the Great, who reigned over Kalinga, which is the present day Orissa.
Before planning this trip, I had gone through several history books which talks about Orissa's connection with Buddhism. Till the 15th century A.D, large section of Orissa's population were highly influenced by Buddhism. Places like Dhauli, Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, and Udaygiri still possess the evidences of Buddhist religion. So, I included these places into my tour itinerary.
At first, I explored Dhauli, which is renowned for its Shanti Stupa and nearby Buddhist monasteries. This is the very place where King Ashoka underwent a change of heart after the bloody battle of Kalinga. Then, I moved to Lalitgiri, another significant place of Orissa's Buddhist circuit. It has the earliest Buddhist complexes in the world which dated back to 1st century AD. I was stunned to see the ruins of rock-cut caves, viharas, chaityas, monasteries, stupas, and caskets of stone, available at Lalitgiri. These Buddhist relics had inspired me to capture their beauty in my paintings.
On 4th day of my trip,I stepped into Ratnagiri, located in the Jajpur district of Orissa. This place was bedecked with excellent Buddhist ruins, sculptures, large monasteries, shrines, big stupas, and a colossal statue of Lord Buddha which beckons large number of visitors every year. However, the main attraction of Ratnagiri is Pushpagiri monastery.
Last but not the least, Udaygiri was the last destination of my Orissa trip. It is the largest Buddhist site and adorned with Avalokitesvara statue of Lord Buddha. This statue of Buddha is unique as here Lord Buddha is depicted having long flowing tresses. From Udagiri, I started my return journey to home, leaving behind some wonderful moments in this tribal land.
| By - Palash
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