Location: 100 km from Bhubaneswar and 70 km from Cuttack
Highlights: Buddhist shrines and sculptures
Ratnagiri is a splendid Buddhist site that comes under the Jajpur
district of Orissa. It is situated at a distance of approximately 100 km
from Bhubaneswar and 70 km from Cuttack. The site, situated on a small
hill, stands surrounded by rivers from all the sides. As you climb up to
Ratnagiri, you will come across magnificent views of vast plains, full
of lush greenery. Excavations were carried out at the site and they led
to the unearthing of two large monasteries, one of them being Sri
Ratnagiri Mahavihara Aryabhikshu Sangha.
This monastery stands adorned with gorgeous doorways, cella sanctum, a
huge stupa, Buddhist shrines, sculptures and a massive idol of Lord
Buddha. Ratnagiri was one of the first sites to be excavated in India in
the period 1957 and 1960. The artifacts and relics found here have been
found to be as old as the reign of Narasimha Gupta Baladitya of Gupta
dynasty, which dates back to 6th century AD. Initially, the site serves
as one of the most prominent centers of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism.
With the advent of 8th and 9th century, the focus shifted to the
Tantrik Buddhism or Vajrayana art and philosophy. One can still see a
number of sculptural relics on the walls, serving as a proof of the
popularity of Vajrayana divinities during that time. As per the Tibetan
account of Pag Sam Jon Zang, Ratnagiri contributed to the emergence of
Kalachakratantra in the 10th century. As you enter the first monastery
of Ratnagiri, you will notice that its walls are adorned with
exquisitely carved stone statues of Vajrapani and Lokeshwara.
One can also find sculptures based on the Hindu mythology, in the
monastery. There is an isolated chamber inside its complex, in which a
10 ft idol of Lord Buddha, engaged in meditation, has been enshrined.
The courtyard has been adorned with a magnificently carved door. There
are a number of other fabulous sculptural evidences strewn throughout
the monastery. In the second monastery of Ratnagiri, you will come
across a life-size granite statue of Lord Buddha. Ratnagiri also boasts
of a splendid a Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna.
The site is known for housing a massive stupa, which stands encircled
by a number of small stupas, which were donated by the followers of
Buddhist religion. They make Ratnagiri, probably, the only site in India
with such a large number of monolithic stupas. Wherever you go in
Ratnagiri, you will come across splendid motifs known as Kunjalata and
Patralata. These motifs stands as testimony to the cultural transfer
taking place at that time. Even the Buddhist sculptures adorning the
site reflected the rich art of old times and have contributed to tourism