Ratnagiri Monastery of Jajpur: A medley of grandeur & spiritually.

Last Updated on February 20, 2023 by asoulwindow

About Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur Odisha

Thanks to the ancient Odia inscriptions, the world now knows that the Mahavihara at Ratnagiri, once served as a great centre of learning in the Buddhist philosophy. From very early times, Ratnagiri of Jajpur has remained a safe haven for Buddhism to flourish in this part of Odisha.

Several evidences have indicated that Ratnagiri was a major Buddhist pilgrimage site in the bygone era. Ratnagiri is an important historical site since it was the last stronghold of Buddhism in India. Today, it is a major sightseeing place in Odisha. No wonder, Ratnagiri makes for a great weekend getaway from other nearby places of interest such as Bhubaneshwar, Puri, Konark Sun Temple, Cuttack, Raghurajpur etc.

This detailed travel guide on Ratnagiri Buddhist Site of Jajpur in Odisha is information packed with my deep insight. You can use this exhaustive travelogue and plan a trip to Ratnagiri Monastery Site. Here is all you wanted to know about Ratnagiri Monastery of Odisha.

My Experience of visiting Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur Odisha

Never before had I seen such grandeur in a Buddhist monastery despite having visited some of the most important Buddhist sites in South Asian nations such as India, Bhutan and Nepal. The grand Nalanda University in Bihar could be an exception. I walked in wonder, pausing at each sculpture, appreciated small details even as the still harsh winter sun baked me slowly.

“How did they make those small holes in these carvings with such precision and neatness?” I wondered as my mind raced back to my visit to the similar architectural brilliance in the Hindu temple across India, whether North or South! Very few countries in the world can boast of such architectural excellence! India is one of them.

“They must have wanted it to be their magnum opus!” I told myself as I paused near a larger-than-life statue of Buddha Bhagwan. The sheer scale and the amount of sculptures excavated here left me speechless! India never fails to amaze me even after exploring this diverse country since the year 2008 non-stop!

Soul Window Reflections

What was once one of the greatest Buddhist centres of Odisha, lied in rubble before my eyes. Despite being reduced to ruins, the remains here speak volumes of its glorious past! Apart from being a civilisations haven, this place must have been a visual spectacle. Larger than life! But time doesn’t remain the same for anyone!

What is now powerful and mighty will be replaced by something else tomorrow! What is now meek and suffering silently may rise to power tomorrow! This is the unsaid rule of history. Time indeed favours none and spares none!

Why is Ratnagiri Monastery of Jajpur in Odisha famous?

What is Ratnagiri Odisha famous for? Ratnagiri Monastery of Jajpur in Odisha is famous for below reasons

  • A Hindu Temple
  • Large courtyard
  • Large Monastic Complex
  • Beautifully painted doorway
  • Several Big and small votive stupa
  • Larger than life statues of Gautama Buddha
  • Visibility of remains of huge statues under the soil.

However, despite its fame, Ratnagiri is still largely unexplored. Located away from the crowds, Ratnagiri is still off the touristy trail. This is why you must visit Ratnagiri soon.

Carved stones Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Complex Jajpur Odisha
Carved stones Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Complex Jajpur Odisha

Who is the main deity of Ratnagiri Monastery

Gautam Buddha is the main deity at Ratnagiri Monastery. Proof of reverence towards several other deities associated with Buddhism have also been found here.

Architecture of Ratnagiri Monastery

Ratnagiri Monastery was built in typical Buddhist architecture prevalent in those times. Sculptures and statues of deities from the Buddhist pantheon such as Tara, Avalokiteshvara, Aparajita, Hariti, Manjusri and other bodhisattvas were unearthed here. I observed elaborate carvings at every turn in the monastery complex. A large number of female figures have also been seen here which is unusual for a Buddhist site.

History of Ratnagiri Monastery

In its early days, Mahayana form of Buddhism flourished in the Ratnagiri Monastery Complex. Somewhere between 8th and 9th century C.E., Ratnagiri Monastery transformed into a centre of Vajrayana art & philosophy or Tantric-Buddhism. The terracotta seals excavated here helped in establishing the site as Ratnagiri. As many as 1386 clay seals were excavated from the Ratnagiri site. Many of these rare seals carried the legend Sri Ratnagiri Mahavihariya Aryabikshu Sanghasya. This immensely helped in establishing the name Ratnagiri of the excavation site.

From Pag Sam Jon Zang, a Tibetan source, we now know that during the 10th century C.E., authorities at Ratnagiri played an instrumental role in the emergence of the Kalachakratantra which means “wheel of time” or “time cycles” in Vajrayana Buddhism.

Several votive stupas which have been unearthed at the excavation site of Ratnagiri support this lesser-known fact. Reliefs of deities of the Vajrayana pantheon were clearly depicted on these votive stupas. Similar proofs have been observed by archaeologists and historians on the inscribed stone slabs and moulded terracotta plaques with dharanis. These precious discoveries were made at the excavation site of Ratnagiri Monastery Complex.

Nomenclature/Etymology of Ratnagiri Monastery

The literal meaning of Ratnagiri is hill of jewels. Ratna means jewel and giri means mountain in English. While Ratnagiri may not be overflowing with actual gems and jewels, it sure boasts of several gems in the form of exquisitely carved sculptures, walls and doors.

Ratnagiri of Odisha is not to be confused with Ratnagiri of Indian state Maharashtra in West India.

Where is Ratnagiri Monastery of Odisha located?

Ratnagiri Monastery is perched atop a grassy hill sandwiched between the Birupa River and the Brahmani River in the easily accessible Jajpur district of Odisha. Located just 2 hours away from Bhubaneshwar, Ratnagiri Monastery is a must-see place in Odisha.

Ratnagiri Monastery is also located close to Cuttack, Puri and other prominent Buddhist sites of Odisha such as Lalitagiri and Udayagiri. These sites together form Golden Triangle of Odisha.

Who built Ratnagiri Monastery of Jajpur Odisha?

The construction of some parts of Monastery 1 commenced under the reign of the Buddhist Bhauma-Kara dynasty. The monastery was also in existence during the reign of Gupta king Narasimha Gupta Baladitya (1st half of the 6th century C.E.)

carving details Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
Carving details Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha

When was Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur constructed?

As per my tourist guide, the mounds were excavated here and the soil sample was sent for carbon dating to ascertain the age of the Ratnagiri Buddhist site. This is how we know how old Ratnagiri site is.

The first ever Buddhist structure erected in the Ratnagiri Monastery Complex dates back to 5th century C.E. The last Buddhist monastery was built here as late as 13th century C.E. This suggests that the Ratnagiri Monastery Complex continued to flourish for several centuries. Most of the major construction work was carried out at Ratnagiri monastery in the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th century C.E. The historians and archaeologists have estimated that it was around 16th century C.E. that the decline of the monastery complex began to happen. It soon turned into rubble and was covered in mud and sand over a period of time.

When was Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur rediscovered?

The guide who accompanied us told me that he had been a part of the excavations at the nearby Udaigiri Buddhist Complex, also in Jajpur district. The rediscovery of most of such Buddhist monuments have only been recent ones.

It was not until the 1960s, when the ASI or Archaeological Survey of India carried out extensive excavation work at the Ratnagiri Buddhist site. They were rewarded with hundreds and thousands of very fine Buddhist sculptures across the site. Even today, a lot remains buried under the sand.

Ratnagiri Monastery: An international destination

Being an integral part of Odisha’s Diamond Triangle, many domestic and international tourists visit Ratnagiri. During my visit here, I had briefly interacted with an elderly NRI couple from London who had come all the way to Ratnagiri so that they could admire the excavation site here.

Thanks to the immense historical importance of Ratnagiri Monastery, it deserves all the international attention it gets. Tourists and devotees from South Asian and South East Asian Buddhist nations such as Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea etc regularly stay in and around Ratnagiri monastery complex.

Places to see in Ratnagiri Monastery Complex

There are so many sightseeing attractions across the wide Ratnagiri Buddhist complex that even a day is not enough. I am writing in detail all the must-see major attractions of Ratnagiri Monastery Complex.

Votive Stupa Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
Votive Stupa Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha

Votive Stupa Cluster

The moment I took a flight of stairs and turned left, I was greeted with scores of stupas lined in neat rows. “Were they originally here or were they installed here after excavation?” A curious me asked the tourist guide who accompanied us. The guide told us that these stupas were collected here and arranged in neat rows for the benefit of the tourists and devotees. These stupas were found at different location of the Buddhist Monastry Complex of Ratnagiri.

As I walked along this open-air museum, I observed that most of the stupas in this stupa Cluster had images of deities from the Buddhist pantheon. Plenty of such small votive stupas were unearthed across the Ratnagiri site. These stupas were offerings by devotees. I noticed images of Gautama Buddha Bhagwan, Padmapani, several Buddhist Goddesses, Avalokiteshvara and Bodhisattva in various poses carved in these stupas. These stupas are very small in size.

Beautiful doorway of Ratangiri Monastery 1 of Odisha

Even before we had arrived at Ratnagiri, most of my co-travellers in my group had already learnt about the elaborately carved chlorite doorway at the monastery 1 of Ratnagiri in Odisha. In our minds, we had already made a beeline to get our pictures and videos at the unique and colourful doorway. It is undoubtedly the most unusual places to see in Ratnagiri, Jajpur. The blue-green chlorite doorway using the local khondalite with plum-coloured overtones is indeed a sight to behold!

Colorful doorway carving Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
Carving on Colorful doorway of Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Complex, Jajpur Odisha

I have never seen a door anywhere in India, which has retained its vivid original colours in such a well-preserved state. No wonder it is often referred to as the most visually stunning entrance gate to a monument in India.

I studied the iconic entrance gate of Ratnagiri monastery in great detail and noticed patterns of plants, flowers, lotus petals, floral vines etc. I had not even finished admiring these unusual patterns when the nearby beautiful sculptures of Bodhisattvas and their female counterparts vied for my attention.

Central Courtyard of Monastery one Ratnagiri Jajpur

The huge central courtyard here once also served as the prayer hall. I had visited several Buddhist monasteries across India, Bhutan and Nepal and never before had I seen a central courtyard as huge as this. There are some temples located here at one corner. Around the periphery of the courtyard, several excavated sculptures were arranged neatly.

Buddha head statue Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
gautam Buddha head at Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha. It is placed in the courtyard of Monastery 1

My favourite of all the sculptures here was a huge head of Gautama Buddha, which once perhaps would have been a part of a colossal statue. This head of Buddha is perhaps also the most photographed thing here apart from the iconic colourful door.

Monastery 1 of Ratnagiri, Jajpur

Most historians agree that the Monastery 1 of Ratnagiri Buddhist Complex is home to some of the best and most exquisite stone carvings which still survives today. The first phase of construction work here began probably in 8th century C.E. The 2nd phase of construction was carried out in probably 11th and 12th century C.E. Not many know that even erotic carvings dating to the second phase have been unearthed here. I have mostly seen erotic carvings in Hindu temples of India and Nepal.

What was once a double storey building has now been reduced to rubble. As I ambled across the monastery complex, I noticed that much of the first floor has fallen over centuries. Only some remains of the first floor can still be seen and admired.

There are as many as 24 cells on the ground floor of the monastery. I noticed that the cells were much larger than what I had seen at other Buddhist sites. It is therefore, quite possible that more than one Buddhist monk occupied the cell. Interestingly, these cells are bereft of windows. Evidences have suggested that these cells also had wooden doors which are of course decomposed over centuries.

Gautama Buddha Padmapani Vajrapani statue Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
Gautama Buddha, Padmapani and Vajrapani statue in Monastery one of Ratnagiri Buddhist Complex of Jajpur Odisha

What amazed me the most was a perfectly preserved colossal statute of Buddha Bhagwan. This 12 feet or 3.7 meters tall statue of Buddha is accompanied by idols of Padmapani and Vajrapani holding chamaras. These statues, though still big are much smaller in size. The entrance to this shrine is decorated with beautiful carvings.

Soul Window Observations

I was stunned at the sheer scale of Monastery 1 of Ratnagiri Buddhist Complex. I have visited several Buddhist sites across India, Bhutan and Nepal and I have hardly seen such huge monastic complex. The grandeur here is to be seen to be believed! Undoubtedly, it is one of the largest of all the Buddhist sites in Odisha and elsewhere.

Whether it is the iconic colorful door with rich carvings or the massive statue of Gautam Buddha Bhagwan, right opposite the door, it left me agape mouthed with its grandeur. The spacious open courtyard here is also the biggest I have ever seen. Countless cells and verandah facing the courtyard whisper the rich Buddhist past of this region in my ears.

Do read my detailed guides to some of the other Buddhist sites I have visited across India, Tibet and Nepal such as Nalanda, Rajgir, Vaishali, Kushinagar, Shravasti, Kapilvastu, Lumbini, Sarnath, Sopara Stupa, Elephanta Caves, Dolma La etc.

Ratnagiri Monastery 1 Buddhist Complex Jajpur Odisha
Ratnagiri Monastery 1. Buddhist Complex in Jajpur of Odisha

Monastery 2 of Ratnagiri

Just as I walked out of the huge monastery 1, I noticed a smaller monastery. This is a single storey monastery. A huge standing statue of Buddha welcomed me as I inched closer to the monastery 2 of Ratnagiri Odisha. Watch out for image of Shakyamuni in Varada Mudra flanked by Lord Brahma and Sakra!

The beautifully carved entrance porticos, a pillared veranda and 18 cells are other major places to see in monastery 2 of Ratnagiri Odisha. Do not miss the unique lion statue in front of Monastery 2.

It is possible that it was constructed before the larger Monastery 1. Construction in monastery 2 took place between 5th and 11th century C.E. I didn’t know about these lesser-known facts till I visited Ratnagiri. Like me, if you also love going off the beaten track, then you will enjoy your visit to Ratnagiri Buddhist Complex.

Monastery 3 of Ratnagiri

Monastery 3 of Ratnagiri Buddhist Complex is also the smallest one. This monastery boasts of only 3 cells and a portico. Monastery 3 is located in the north west direction on a grassy knoll. It is an important point of attraction here.

Maha Stupa in Ratnagiri Buddhist Complex of Jajpur

Maha Stupa is one of the top places to see in the Ratnagiri Buddhist Complex of Jajpur. I walked out of Monastery 1, crossed monastery 2 and climbed up on an easy uphill path to arrive at this massive stupa. This 17 feet tall stupa was constructed in the 9th century C.E. The original structure could have been much taller. The square base of Maha Stupa measures a whooping 47 feet or 14 meters on each side. This stupa is located on the highest point here.

Maha Stupa and Votive Stupa Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
Maha Stupa and Votive Stupa at Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Complex of Jajpur in Odisha

As is common with many ancient and medieval stupas, the Maha Stupa of Ratnagiri also has a pradakshina path sandwiched between the outer wall and plinth. The monks used this pathway for performing kora or circumambulation around the holy stupa. Hindus call it parikrama. It is a ritual followed by both Hindus as well as its offshoot Buddhism.

Votive Stupas at of Ratnagiri Buddhist Monastery, Jajpur

Of some odd 700 stupas excavated at the site of Ratnagiri Buddhist Complex, many of them surround the Maha Stupa in Monastery 2. The mid-sized votive stupas are known as commemorative stupas and were constructed in the memory of monks. The smaller votive stupas were however commissioned by the devotees when their wishes were fulfilled.

Mahakal temple at Ratnagiri Odisha

It is very unusual to see a Hindu temple in a majorly Buddhist site. Devoted to Shiv Bhagwan, it is a must visit place. Built in typical Odia architectural style or Nagara architectural style, it looks very different from the other monuments at Ratnagiri Buddhist Complex.

I walked along the Maha Stupa to discover this unusual lone Hindu temple overlooking a green valley of undulating open fields. Mahakal temple is one of the best offbeat places to see in Ratnagiri. I stood here for a while, soaking in the breathtaking views of the green valley below!

Mahakal Mandir Shiva Temple Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
Mahakal Mandir is a Shiva Temple in Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Comlex of Jajpur in Odisha

Archaeological Museum of Ratnagiri or Ratnagiri Museum

For me, walking around the vast Ratnagiri Buddhist Complex is akin to walking in an open-air museum. Several precious related sculptures are lying scattered in the nearby local villages. While many of the findings have been relocated to an on-site museum and elsewhere, I noticed that much of the excavated remains still lie around the grassy knolls, rooftops, pathways and across the massive courtyards. You can admire the exhibits and historical artefacts here if you want to dig deeper into the Buddhist past of Odisha, earlier known as Orissa or Kalinga.

Apart from several seals, pottery specimens from that era, sculptures made up of bronze, you can also learn about the evolution of Odia script at Archaeological Museum of Ratnagiri.

Other findings from the Ratnagiri Buddhist Site are displayed in

  • Patna Museum, Bihar
  • Indian Museum, Kolkata
  • National Museum, New Delhi
  • Odisha State Museum in Bhubaneswar
  • A figure in the Brooklyn Museum, New York, U.S.A.

Hidden Buried Sites at of Ratnagiri Buddhist Monastery Complex Jajpur

Just as I was leaving the Maha Stupa, one of my co-traveller asked me, “Have you seen the head of Buddha buried in soil?”. Excited and nonplussed, I replied, “No, where is it?” She took me to a ground and took a little time to rediscover it. What I saw amazed me. A small part of Buddha’s head was peeking from the ground below my feet. It was probably Kaparda style.

Gautam Buddha Head Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
Gautam Buddha Statue Head buried under ground at Ratnagiri Monastery in Jajpur of Odisha

It is a Sanskrit word for for a braided and coiled hairstyle. “It is Mathuran Snail Shell Curls”, I exclaimed! The Mathura school used to represent Buddha Bhagwan with ‘snail shell’ curls turning to the right. From the size of 2-3 curls I saw peeping from the ground, I assumed it must be a colossal statue beneath my feet. This proves that so much still remains to be excavated at this historical destination in the Jajpur district of Odisha.

Top things to do in Ratnagiri Monastery Complex

There are so many interesting things which you can do in Ratnagiri monastery all day that even a day is less.

Some of the best things to do in Ratnagiri Monasteryare as under:

  • Stroll past the ruins
  • Do Yoga
  • Meditate
  • Hire a guide
  • Study each image and sculpture in detail

Excursions from Ratnagiri Buddhist Monastery Complex, Jajpur, Odisha

There are so many exciting excursions around Ratnagiri monastery that even a week in this part of Jajpur is less. You can visit all the nearby Buddhist complexes such as Lalitgiri and Udaigiri apart from the lesser-known Hindu temples of Jajpur such as Maa Biraja Temple etc.

Some of the best places to visit near Ratnagiri Monastery in Odisha are

  • Cuttack
  • Koraput
  • Mangaljodi
  • Chilika Lake
  • Gopalpur beach
  • Lalitgiri Monastery
  • Udaigiri Monastery
  • Konark Sun Temple
  • Shri Jagannath Puri
  • Chandrabhaga beach
  • Udayagiri Khandagiri Caves
  • Raghurajpur Pattachitra Village
Lion head Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
Lion head at Ratnagiri Monastery in Jajpur of Odisha

Festival of Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur Odisha

What are the festivals celebrated in Ratnagiri?It is a commonly asked question. Buddha Poornima is celebrated at the Ratnagiri Monastery Complex by devout Buddhists. Mahashivratri is celebrated with much fanfare in the Mahakal Mandir.

Vegan and Vegetarian Food in Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur Odisha

I didn’t see any café or restaurant in or around Ratnagiri Monastery Complex. There are some makeshift shops from where I bought some chips and cold drinks for a quick sugar rush which compensated for all the dehydration I had while walking for hours under the open sun.

It is a good idea to eat well before you visit Ratnagiri monastery complex. Do not forget to carry 1-2 litres of water per person as it is easy to get dehydrated here despite it being winter.

On one occasion, we had an amazing Odia Thali at Odianee Restaurant and Supermarket. Address: NH-16, Near Toll Plaza, Panikoili, Odisha 755043.

We had a late lunch at 4 p.m. Our all vegetarian/vegan lunch comprised of exciting Odia dishes such as Dalma, pumpkin pakora, Dahi baingan etc. The venue of the lunch was Nirvana Hotel and Banquets (A unit of Dharmasala Bhawan). Address: Neulpur, Chandikhol, Odisha 754024

This is what I ate:

  • Dalma: It is my favourite Odia dish. Mixed vegetables are cooked in a split grain / lentils. Some of the vegetables which go in a traditional Dalma are yam, beans, raw papaya, potato, pumpkin and grated coconut). Once it is cooked, it is tempered with desi ghee (clarified butter), heeng (asafoetida), jeera (cumin seeds), red chilly.
  • Badi Chura: Delicious sun-dried lentil dumpling crumble with mustard oil seasoning. We have a version of this in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab as well.
  • Desi Ghanta Tarkari: This Odia dish is mix veg curry. Some of the vegetables used here include Beans, Yam, Drumsticks, Raw Banaba & Chickpeas.
  • Saga Muga: Spinach is cooked with yellow split gram and vegetables such as Yam and Raw Banana. It is a very healthy dish and is common in households of Odisha.
  • Dahi Baingan: I found this dish slightly sweet. Brinjals are cooked in a thick curd gravy. It is tempered with curry leaf, red chillies, rai (mustard seed).
  • Ambula Rai: Sun-dried Mango cooked in curd, mustard paste & jaggery with mustard seed tempering.
  • Chhatu Poda: Banana leaf wrapped Roasted Paddy Straw Mushroom.
  • Kakharu Fula bara: This crunchy friiter is nothing but deep-fried pumpkin flower in gram flour & rice flour batter.
  • Kheeri: This dessert is rice Kheer cooked in Odia style
  • Chhena Poda: This popular dessert of Odisha is like baked cheese.
  • Steamed White Rice 
  • Tawa Roti

Frequently asked questions

Is it safe to visit Ratnagiri Monastery in Jajpur?

Yes, it is absolutely safe to visit Ratnagiri Monastery in Jajpur despite its remote location. At all times, security guards patrol the site, keeping a vigil. You will also be accompanied by many tourists from India and abroad so it is not easy being lonely here.

Souvenirs Shopping Guide to Ratnagiri Monastery

I didn’t see any souvenir shops in and around Ratnagiri Monastery Complex.

What currency is used in Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

INR is widely used as a local currency in Ratnagiri Monastery complex of Jajpur.

ATM in Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

There are not many ATMs around Ratnagiri Monastery of Jajpur. I had withdrawn enough cash from my base city Ghaziabad before I even boarded the flight to Bhubaneshwar. You should also withdraw some hard cash from Bhubaneshwar or Jajpur before you visit Ratnagiri.

Photography Tips for Ratnagiri Monastery

Be warned that drones are strictly not allowed. My co travellers, who were carrying drone cameras were asked to leave it in bus or else the authorities would exercise their rights to confiscate the drones.

Hire local tourist guide in Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

A local English and Hindi speaking guide accompanied me at all times. He had helped me locate not only the hidden gems but also educated me with rich Buddhist history of Jajpur and Odisha. Exploring the ancient ruins with a guide made all the difference to my overall experience at Ratnagiri Monastery.

Languages spoken in Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

Odia and Hindi are easily understood and spoken by many local people here. English is also used by those who are employed in the tourism sector.

Toilet facility in Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

Clean toilets are available around the Ratnagiri Monastery complex. 

How To Book a trip to Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur?

It is a frequently asked question. You can either travel to Ratnagiri monastery by your own or go with a tour operator.

Backpacking Budget Travel Tips for Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

It is very easy to go backpacking in Ratnagiri monastery. The only money you will spend on is the entry ticket, guide fee (optional), public transport and small eats. Ratnagiri Monastery is a budget friendly tourist destination in Jajpur near Bhubaneshwar.

Solo Trip Tips for Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur Odisha

Being located in a remote corner, a solo traveller may face some hiccups while reaching and leaving Ratnagiri Buddhist Complex but it is doable for sure.

Luxury travel Tips for Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur Odisha

Mine was a luxury trip to Ratnagiri Monastery. I stayed in luxury hotel and was driven in an air-conditioned bus to Ratnagiri Monastery. It is possible to find luxurious amenities in the Jajpur town and Bhubaneshwar but do not expect but luxury facilities near the ruins of monastery complex of Ratnagiri.

temples in courtyard of Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
Temples in the courtyard of Ratnagiri Monastery 1 in Jajpur, Odisha

Books on Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

You can read following books for a better understanding of the rich Buddhist heritage of Odisha.

  • Buddhist Heritage of Orissa by Sunil Kumar Patnaik
  • Buddhist Heritage of Odisha by Himanshu Prabha Ray
  • New Horizons of Buddhism in Odisha by Ajit Kumar Tripathi
  • Iconography of the Buddhist Sculpture of Orissa by Thomas E. Donaldson

UPSC Questions on Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

Questions on Ratnagiri Monastery in Jajpur are frequently asked in the UPSC exams. This comprehensive guide to Ratnagiri Monastery helps answer all the frequently asked questions in an exhaustive manner.

Where to stay near Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

There are no hotels and lodges near Ratnagiri monastery complex. I stayed in the luxurious Jajati courtyard and made a day trip to both Udaigiri and Ratnagiri monastery complex. It is a luxurious hotel with all amenities and modern frills one can think of. The food here is worth writing home about.

What to wear in Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

I visited Ratnagiri monastery in the second week of February. Despite being a winter month, it became hot and humid by afternoon. Though nights and mornings may get slightly cold in winters in Odisha, do wear light cottons especially when you are exploring the ruins of Ratnagiri in afternoon.

Timings of Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur Odisha

Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur is open from sunrise to sunset or 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Carving Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
Carvings in Ratnagiri Monastery. Jajpur,Odisha

Best Time to visit Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

Which month is best to visit Ratnagiri Monastery? Visiting the Ratnagiri monastery complex in the right month can make a difference to your experience. This is why you should wisely choose which month you want to visit Ratnagiri in. Below is a detailed guide baded on my own experience.


December and January are the best months to visit Ratnagiri Monastery in Jajpur. I visited in 2nd week of February and it still got hot and humid in afternoon. Carry light cotton clothes for afternoon explorations and woollens and light jackets for early mornings and late evenings.


The months of March, April, May and June are very hot in Jajpur and much of Odisha. Since much of the exploration here is done under the open sun, it is easy to get sunstroked if you do not take proper care. In case you still want to explore Ratnagiri in the summer months, wear white cotton clothes, sunglasses, cap and stay hydrated at all times. Also carry sunscreen.


The temperature of Jajpur remains pleasant in the monsoon months of July, August and some days of September. However, be warned that some parts of Odisha may suffer major cyclones during the rainy season. Do check weather predictions while planning a trip to Ratnagiri Monastery.

Duration of Visit in Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur Odisha

I spent around 2-3 hours at Ratnagiri Monastery Complex though I wanted to spend all day here. There is so much to see and observe here that even a day is not enough! The fact that much of the sculptures are still waiting to be excavated will further increase the time required for exploration here.

How many days to spend in Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur?

What can I do in 1 day in Ratnagiri Monastery? In one day, you can easily cover all the major attractions of the vast Ratnagiri monastery complex.

What can I do in 2 days in Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur? Many devout Buddhists visit Ratnagiri for 2 days or even more.

Itinerary for Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

  • I left the hotel after breakfast
  • Arrived and Udaigiri monastery and explored for few hours
  • Reached Ratnagiri monastery next and spend another few hours here
  • Had late lunch of Odia food at 4 p.m.
  • Returned to hotel and rested.

Local Transport for sightseeing around Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

It is not easy to find local public transport right outside the entry gate and ticket counter of Ratnagiri monastery complex. I walked out till a crossroad where I saw public transport plying on the road. The walk too me around 15 minutes.

How to reach Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur?

How to get to Ratnagiri in Jajpur, Odisha? Ratnagiri monastery site makes for an easy weekend destination from nearby historical places such as Konark Surya Mandir, Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Cuttack etc. It is moderately easy to arrive at Ratnagiri Monastery.

Private Cab

Many tourists visit Ratnagiri as a day trip from Jajpur, Cuttack, Puri or Bhubaneshwar. It is a pleasure to drive here as the road conditions are excellent at most places in Odisha! Ratnagiri is only 2-3 hours away from Bhubaneshwar. Though I prefer that you stay in Jajpur because it is only an hour away from Ratnagiri.


Jajpur-Keonjhar Road station is the nearest railway junction from Ratnagiri. You can also train a train from Bhubaneswar to Jajpur-Keonjhar Road station. Other big nearby railways stations are located in Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Cuttack. Many people club these destinations together.


You can take a flight to Biju Patnaik Airport of Bhubaneshwar and hire a cab from airport to Ratnagiri or directly to your hotel in Jajpur.


Several low-cost buses also run between Bhubaneshwar and Jajpur via Cuttack.

Abhinav Singh Colorful doorway Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
Author Abhinav Singh at the iconic colorful doorway of Ratnagiri Monastery 1. Jajpur, Odisha

Distances from Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur

Several major tourist attractions of Odisha are located close to Ratnagiri Monastery. I am sharing a detailed distance chart below which can help you plan an exciting trip across Odisha.

Most Indian and International travellers club Udayagiri, Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri together. It is known as the Golden Triangle Tour of Odisha. Many tour operators also sell such packages which include a visit to all the 3 Buddhist sites. Below are the distances from Ratnagiri Monastery to other nearby tourist places of Odisha.

The distance between Udayagiri and Ratnagiri Odisha is 12.6 kilometers and it takes around 30 minutes to reach via Udayagiri Ratnagiri Road.

The distance between Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri Odisha is 16 kilometers and it takes around 35 minutes to reach via Pattamundai Canal Road

The distance between Konark Sun Temple and Ratnagiri Odisha is 151 kilometers and it takes around 3 hours and 45 minutes to reach via NH16

The distance between Jajpur and Ratnagiri Odisha is 33 kilometers and it takes around 1 hour to reach via Jajpur Kuakhia Road and Bari Jajpur Highway

The distance between Cuttack and Ratnagiri Odisha is 74.8 kilometers and it takes around 2 hours to reach via NH16

The distance between Bhubaneshwar and Ratnagiri Odisha is 95 kilometers and it takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach via NH 16.

The distance between Raghurajpur and Ratnagiri Odisha is 141 kilometers and it takes around 3 hours and 10 minutes to reach via NH16 and NH316.

The distance between Konark Sun Temple and Ratnagiri Odisha is 151 kilometers and it takes around 3 hours and 45 minutes to reach via NH16

The distance between Shri Jagannath Puri and Ratnagiri Odisha is 152 kilometers and it takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes to reach via Badshahi Road/Cuttack Puri Bypass Road and NH16

The distance between Mangaljodi and Ratnagiri Odisha is 162 kilometers and it takes around 3 hours and 45 minutes to reach via NH16

The distance between Koraput and Ratnagiri Odisha is 582 kilometers and it takes around 12 hours and 30 minutes to reach via SH17, NH16 and NH326.

What is diamond triangle of Odisha?

Which are the Buddhist monuments of Odisha? The Buddhist sites of Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Lalitgiri, all located close to each other form the Diamond Triangle of Odisha. Several Indian and foreign tourists visit these historical sites at one go!  Many tour operators also offer Ratnagiri-Udayagiri-Lalitgiri tours. Thanks to the proximity of these sites with each other, I had also visited these Buddhist sites in a single day, despite being a part of a large group. It is the best thing to do in Jajpur.

carved pillar Ratnagiri Monastery Buddhist Jajpur Odisha
Carved pillar at Ratnagiri Monastery. Jajpur, Odisha

Conclusion: Is Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur worth visiting?

Why visit Ratnagiri Monastery Jajpur? Here is an overview. Ratnagiri Monastery is easily one of the grandest medieval Buddhist complexes I have seen in India, Nepal or elsewhere. Despite its grandeur, Ratnagiri is still an unusual place to see in Jajpur and Odisha.

In a nutshell, it is worth visiting the diamond triangle of Ratnagiri Udayagiri and Lalitgiri on a single trip and probably in a single day, thanks to the proximity of these Buddhist sites with each other!

Here are my final thoughts. The bottomline is that Ratnagiri is a major international tourist destination which is loved equally by both foreigners as well as domestic tourists. To summarize, a trip to Odisha is incomplete without a trip to Ratnagiri!

The view from my Soul Window smells of lotus flower!

Pin this blog to save the blog and plan a trip later!

Related Blogs

Maa Biraja Mandir

Rath Yatra

Mysteries of Shri Jagannath Temple

All you want to know about Mahaprasad

Pattachitra Village Raghurajpur

Blogs on Buddhist Sites

All about Rajgir

All about Vaishali

All about Kushinagar

All about Shravasti

All about Kapilvastu

All about Sarnath

All about Elephanta Caves

All about Dolma La of Tibet

All about Sopara Stupa

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *