Bhubaneswar is the capital of the East Indian state of Odisha, until recently known as Orissa. About 50 miles from Bhubaneswar lie the ancient Buddhist Centers of Lalitagiri and Ratnagiri, which together with the site of Udaygiri form what is known as the ‘Diamond Triangle of Odisha’. On this day-excursion from Bhubaneswar visit the ancient Buddhist sites of Lalitagiri and Ratnagiri that date from the 1st century B.C. to the 12th century A.D.Highlights • Stone casket containing the relics of the Buddha, Lalitagiri • Standing statues of the Buddha • Sculptures of the Gandhara School of Architecture
You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning and driven to Lalitagiri, which is about 50 miles distance from Bhubaneswar. The drive to Lalitagiri takes around an hour and a half.Dating back to the 1st century B.C., the complex at Lalitagiri is considered to be one of the oldest Buddhist establishments in the world. The ruins show the remnants of a large stupa on a hill and four monasteries. Two stone caskets with relics of Lord Buddha were found in the stupa. One of the caskets is believed to contain the bones of the Buddha. A rainwater cistern made of bricks has also been excavated at this site. Artefacts dating back to the 9th and 10th century A.D. suggest that Tantric Buddhism was also practised here. There are huge stone statues of the Buddha in the standing position, a characteristic of the Gandhara School of Architecture. The artefacts unearthed from the various excavations at this site are now kept in a museum on the grounds of this complex.Next drive to Ratnagiri, half an hour drive away from Lalitagiri. Ratnagiri was the site of a major Buddhist monastery that flourished from the 5th to the 12th century A.D. A large Stupa, several shrines, monasteries and innumerable stone sculptures have been excavated here. Ratnagiri was a center for Tantric Buddhism.At the end of the tour enjoy lunch (own expenses) at a local restaurant.After lunch you will be driven back to Bhubaneswar and dropped off at your hotel.