Meet your guide and separate driver at your Bhubaneshwar hotel, and travel to Khandagiri and Udayagiri, located in hills on the edges of the city, by private, air-conditioned vehicle.
Tour the most ornate caves as your guide shares their history. Carved by Jain monks, the caves date to the 1st century BC and were used as dwellings and meditation quarters. As you look round, learn how the grottos were built under King Kharavela of the Mahameghavahana dynasty. While he was known for public buildings and works, his queen was a patron of arts and oversaw much of the sculptural art adorning the caves.
Having explored here, drive southward to Dhauli, a sacred Buddhist site on the banks of the River Daya. Revered by Buddhists as the place where ancient Indian emperor Ashoka renounced violence and embraced Buddhism, the site is marked by the Peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa), built by the Japanese in the 1970s.
Visit the pagoda, and see two of the rock-carved edicts declaring Ashoka’s new religious principles that date from 260 BC. Then, view some rock-cut caves, medieval Hindu temples, and the renovated Shiva temple near the pagoda.
Finally, return to your hotel, where your tour concludes.