Buddhism had influenced the civilization all along the areas covering Silk route in Central Asia.In the Odisha state of India,there are many such places where Buddhism had flourished. One such place is Buddhakhol where signs of Buddhism has still exist but inside the Shiva temple.
About 70 km away from Berhampur,on the top of a hill,near Buguda, Budhakhol is a scenic spot with caves,waterfalls,green canopy and remains of Buddhism. The name Budhakhol is derived from Buddha and Khol means Caves.There are two caves still present which were being used then by the Monks to meditate. Sidhha Gumpha and Dyana Gumpha as they called it. Apart from the caves as a meditation place for the Monks, there are statues of Buddha which are being worshiped now as Buddheswar.
There is a perennial source of waterfall attracting picnickers from nearby areas.There are 5 temples, called Panchu Mahadeva which is another attraction for the religious tourists who throng to this place from all over Odisha to worship Gangadhareswar, Sidheswar, Buddheswar, Jagadieswar and Makareswar.
Odisha tourism has developed the site with parks,all weather roads.
Historical Importance:The place and the caves were a major site of Buddhism learning.Even Lord Buddha is said to have stayed here.The Chinese traveler Huensang too had come to this place to learn Buddhism during his 17 years stay in India during 6th CE.It is said that the King of Bhanjanagar had constructed the temples later and worship of Buddheswar had started.One family of preist wes brought from Puri to worship Lord Buddheswar. Now the family has grown to forty families engaged in daily rituals at the temple as well as another temple called Kuberaswar(another Buddhist site) near Buddhakhol. Recently a Hanuam statue has been erected at the bottom of the hill and the Statues of Shiva Parbati has been donated by Ipsita Pati, an odiya actress.
Major attraction: The Water fall, Treaking,Scenec beauty,Picnic,Temples and the Park are the major attractions.Also at a distance of 3 kms another Buddhist site called Kuberaswar can be visited.
Travel advise:One can reach to the hill top through the stairs as well as by car through the newly constructed road.But parking after reaching to the top may be a problem as space to accommodate is less. Place is safe except stiff and slippery stairs.Food shops are not available at the top, so may carry water bottle and light food from Buguda. However Prasad is available at the temple kitchen.I had my lunch at the temple.One can take bath at the waterfall.
How to reach: The nerest train station is at Berhampur ,at 70 kms and nearest airport is at Bhubaneswar.One can take a taxi from Berhampur or by byke and reach to Budhakhol through Buguda.Road codition is good.Start from Berhampur to Aska and then from Aska roundabout straight road till Buguda.From Buguda one road at the right side leads to around 5 kms for Buddhakhol.
Accomodation: One accomodation is available at Krushnachandra Yatriniwas.But book it in advance. Otherwise one has to stay at Berhampur or Asika. Good number of budget hotels are available at Aska.For picnic ,utensils are available on hire near the park at bottom of the hill.
Prefered time: Any day is prefered.But October to January is prefered when climate is not hot or rain is expected.Also during Shivaratri, one can enjoy the gathering.