Ratnagiri Monastery

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2013

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About 100 kms from Bhubaneswar are the monasteries of Ratnagiri, Udaygiri and Lalitgiri which comprise the Diamond Triangle.. Visited them in the same order. Ratnagiri is on top of a hill, area beautifully maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. Votive Stupas 8-11th century A.D. as you climb up the hill.

The complex has two monasteries and a MahaStupa. One of the monasteries has a huge statue of Buddha. Monastery witnessed growth from 5-13th century A.D. A large number of stone sculptures were discovered during excavations that are seen here. Ratnagiri was a great Tantric centre of Buddhism. Board at monastery entrance.

Overview of monastery. Monastery one is on right of pic and on left is number 2. Children that you see are standing on what looks like ruins of a stupa. Ratnagiri is on the banks of river Kelua like most Hindu temples. Hiuen Tsang referred to it and visited in 639 A.D.

Entrance to monastery One. It is entered through a beautifully carved gateway made of local blue green chlorite stone. Note carving on entrance and side walls and Buddha image in centre of pic.

Inside shrine is a large seated Khondalite Buddha image (in a rare bhoomisparsa posture) together with other Buddhist divinities.

Sculpture in monastery.

Overview of monastery one. Huge open area in centre with what look like residential rooms for monks all around external wall.

In monastery one is this piece of stone. Do not know how to describe it. Please help.

Stone image of Buddha inside monastery one.

Another stone image inside monastery one.

A series of stone images of Buddha.

Another stone image inside monastery one.

At one end of the monastery is the Mahakala Temple 16th century a.d.

Ruins of the MAHASTUPA 8-11th century a.d.

Board in Museum. Ratnagiri meant ''Jewel Hill'' where hundreds of monks resided. Sculptures found in the Ratnagiri Museum indicate a high degree of artistry and cultural development of the people who resided here.

A large image of Buddha''s face inside the Museum.

Buddha in Bhumisparsa Mudra. It depicts Buddha sitting in meditation with his right hand touching the earth and left palm/hand upright in his lap. This represents the moment of Buddha''s enlightenment.

Image at entrance of museum.

Image of a lady at entrance of museum.

Next site was Udaygiri or The Hill of Sunrise. It is about 20 minute drive from Ratnagiri in the midst of nowhere. Close to entrance is a Shiv mandir where met the Pandit. It has a huge Buddha image, shrine complex, ruins of a Maha-stupa and a residential complex. Museum has large number of stone images.

Rock-cut Stepped Well 9-10th century. I had seen step wells only in Gujarat and Rajasthan. To see pics of Bundi Step Well Click here

Monastery is at a height, you see a series of Stupas. It has a bell shaped stupa signifying vajrayana Buddhism.

Shrine complex 10-12th century a.d. Next pic u see close up of stone sculpture i.e. in centre of image.

Monastery 2 - Buddha image with what must have been a beautifully decorated doorway. Image has a 8th century inscription on it.

Close up of Buddha image. To see pics of Bodh Gaya Temple Click here

Next is Lalitgiri or Hill of Grace. We drove thru a village to reach a big gate. Again this is on a hill very beautifully maintained. To see pics of Great Buddha Statue Bodh Gaya Click here

U see monastery 4 i.e. 8-11th century a.d. To visit Sukhothai Historical Park Thailand Click here

U see monastery 3 i.e. 4-8th century a.d. To visit Rajgir in Bihar Click here

U see Chaityagriha Stupa Complex i.e. 1st century B.C. to 7th century A.D. To see pics of Wats of Bangkok Click here

Ratnagiri Monastery attracts number of children, tourists and school visits. U see a group of teachers in monastery one. To see pics of Sarnath Click here