Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are the caves of archaeological, historical and religious importance near the city of Bhubaneswar in Orissa, India. The caves are situated on two hills Udayagiri and Khandagiri, mentioned as "Kumari Parvat" in Hathigumpha inscription and face each other across the road. They have a number of finely and ornately carved caves. It is believed that most of these caves were carved out huge residential blocks for the Jain monks, during the reign of King Kharavela. Udayagiri meaning Sunrise Hill, has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves.

The caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri, called lena or lena in the inscriptions, were dug out mostly during the reign of Kharavela for the above of Jaina ascetics. The most important of this group is Ranigumpha in Udayagiri which is a double storeyed monastery.

Count of the caves

B.M. Barua , basing on a reading of line 14 of the Hathigumpha inscription declared that altogether one hundred and seventeen caves were caused to be excavated by Kharavela and others on the Kumari hill (Udayagiri). Marshall has counted more than 35 caves in both the hills, while M.M. Ganguli has enumerated only twenty seven caves.

The number of existing caves may be counted at Udayagiri as eighteen, while Khandagiri present only fifteen excavation. The local names of the existing caves are present below and those are numbered according to the enumeration of the Archaeological Survey of India.

The famous caves

In Udayagiri, Hathigumpha (cave 14) and Ganeshagumpha (cave 10) are famous. "Rani ka Naur" (Queen's Palace cave, cave 1) is also an extensively carved cave and elaborately embellished with sculptural friezes. Khandagiri offers a fine view back over Bhubaneswar from its summit. The Ananta cave (cave 3) depicts carved figures of women, elephants, athletes, and geese carrying flowers.

Inscriptions in Caves in Brahmi

Hathigumpha inscription

The Hathigumpha cave ("Elephant Cave") has Hathigumpha inscription, written by Raja Kharavela, the king of Kalinga in India, during the 2nd century BCE. Hathigumpha inscription consists of seventeen lines incised in deep cut Brahmi letters on the overhanging brow of a natural cavern Hathigumpha in the southern side of the Udayagiri hill. It faces straight towards the rock Edicts of Asoka at Dhauli situated at a distance of about six miles.

Other minor inscriptions

Besides Hathigumpha inscription of Kharavela there are some other minor Brahmi inscriptions in the twin hillocks of Udayagiri and Khandagiri, which were deciphered earlier by Prof RD Banergy during 1915-16 (Epigraphic Indica-XIII) and BM Baraua (Indian Historical Quarterly-XIV). Sadananda Agrawal has given further clarifications about them and are produced as under:

I- Mancapuri cave inscription (Upper storey) This inscription is engraved on the raised space between the second and third doorways of the cave. The text in Devanagari script is as under:

L.1- अरहंत पसादाय कलिंगानं समनानं लेनं कारितं राजिनो ललाकस

L.2- हथिसिहस पपोतस धुतुना कलिंग चकवतिनो सिरिखारवेलस

L.3- अगमहिसिना कारितं

Translation - By the blessings of Arhats the chief queen of Kharavela, the Cakravarti monarch of Kalinga, the great granddaughter of Hathisiha (Hasti Simha) and the daughter of Lalāka or Lalārka caused to be excavated the cave for the sramanas of Kalinga.

II- Mancapuri cave inscription (Upper storey)-A

This inscription is incised on a raised bend between the 3rd and 4th doorways from the left and contains single line. The text in Devanagari script is as under:

ऐरस महाराजस कलिंगाधिपतिना महामेघवाहनस कुदेपसिरिनो लेणं

Translation - This is the cave of Aira MahameghavahanaMaharaja Kudepasiri, the overlord of Kalinga.

Note:- Kudepasiri seems to be the immediate successor of Kharavela.

III-Manchapuri cave inscription 'B' (Lower storey)

This inscription has been engraved on the right wall of Veranda, to the right of the entrance to the right-hand side chamber of the main wing, consisting of one line. The text in Devanagari script is as under:

कुमारो वडुखस लेणं

Translation - [This is] the cave of Prince unicode|Vaḍukha.

Note:- On palaeographic ground Prof Banergy considers this inscription to be a little earlier than the inscription of king Kudepasiri. According to Sadananda Agrawal, Prince Badukha stands an obscure figure in history, but Badukha seems to be the son or brother of Kudepasiri.

IV- Inscriptions in the sarpagumpha (Over the door way)

This inscription consisting of one line, is incised over the doorway of the sarpagumpha. The text in Devanagari script is as under:

चूलकमस कोठाजेया च

Translation - The chamber and veranda/or side chamber of cūlakama.Note:- However Dr. Sahu interpreted Ajeya being united by a "Sandhi" qualifying Koṭha there by denoting invincible. But he ignored the conjunction "ca (Devanagari: च)" which follows "Koṭha(Devanagari:कोठा)" and "Jeya (Devanagari:जेया)".

V- Inscription in the sarpagumpha ( to the left of the doorway) The text in Devanagari script is as under:

L.1- कंमस हलखि

L.2- णय च पसादो

Translation :- [The pavilion is the] gift of Kamma and Halakhina.

Note:- Most probably Halakhiṇa was the wife of Kamma. "Chūlakamma" - found in the inscription No.IV and "Kamma" of this record indicate official designations rather than the proper names. "Kamma" may be taken as minister of works ("Karma saciva") and "Cūlakamma" appears to be a junior cadre of minister in the Department of works.

VI- Haridas cave inscription

This inscription contains one line has been incised over one of the three entrances to the main chamber of the cave from the veranda. The text in Devanagari script is as under:

चूलकमस पसातो कोठाजेया च

Translation :- The chamber and veranda (or side chamber) are the gift of cūlakama.

VII- Vyāghragumphā inscription

The record is incised on the outer wall of the inner chamber. The text in Devanagari script is as under:

L.1- नगर अखंदस

L.2- स भूतिनो लेणं

Translation :- The cave of Bhūti, the city judge.

VIII- Jambesavara cave inscription

This inscription has been engraved over the entrances to the inner chamber of the cave. The text in Devanagari script is as under:

महादस बरयाय नकियस लेनं

Translation :- The cave of Mahamāda Nākiya and Bāriyā.

X- Tatowāgumphā inscription (Cave No -1)

The record of this inscription is incised over one of the entrances to the inner chamber. The Text reads in Sanscrit as

पादमुलिकस कुसुमस लेणं x [।।]

Translation: The cave of Kusuma, the "padamulika".

Notes:- There is a syllable after the word "lenam", which may be read as "ni" or "phi",. "padamulika" literally means, one who serves at the feet [of king] .

According to Kishori Lal Faujdar, Here Kusuma seems to be related with Kaswan clan of Jats. He refers an article ‘Hathi Gumpha and three other inscriptions’ (page 24) in Devanagari as under [Kishori Lal Faujdar:Jat Samaj Monthly Magazine, Agra, January/February (2001) page-6] :

कुसवानाम् क्षत्रियानां च सहाय्यतावतां प्राप्त मसिक नगरम्

"unicode|Kusawānāṃ kshatriyānāṃ ca Sahāyyatāvatāṃ prāpt masika nagaraṃ".

Translation:- This translates that the city of 'Masikanagara ' was obtained with the help of 'Kuswan' Kshatriyas.

Note:- Sadananda Agrawal has interpreted "Masikanagara" as "Asikanagara" and identified with the city Adam (Nagpur district). In view of the evidence of a highly prosperous city unearthed at Adam, Prof AM Shastri is of the opinion that Adam itself represents the Asikanagara of Hathigumpha inscription. It is worth noting in the present context that a terracotta sealing having a legend, has been discovered from Adam [Sadananda Agrawal: Śrī Khāravela, Published by Sri Digambar Jain Samaj, Cuttack, 2000] , situated on the right bank of the river Wainganga, which reads Asakajanapadasa (Devanagari: असकजनपदस).

XI- Ananta Gumpha inscription (A)

The record is incised on the architrave between the left ante and the fifth pillar. The text in Devanagari script is as under:

दोहद समणनं लेणं

Translation :- The cave of the Dohada unicode|Śramaṇas.

List of Caves at Udayagiri

1- Ranigumpha,2- Bajagharagumpha,3- Chota Hathigumpha, 4- Alkapurigumpha, 5- Jaya-vijayagumpha,6- Panasagumpha,7- Thakuranigumpha, 8- Patalapurigumpha,9- Mancapurigumpha, 10- Ganesagumpha,11- Jambesvaragumpha,12- Vyaghragumpha,13- Sarpagumpha,14- Hathigumpha,15- Dhanagharagumpha,16- Haridasagumpha,17- Jagammathgumpha,18- Rosaigumpha,

List of Caves at Khandagiri

1- Tatowagumpha No.-1,2- Tatowagumpha No.-2,3- Anantagumpha, 4- Tentuligumpha,5- Khandagirigumpha,6- Dhyanagumpha,7- Navamunigumpha, 8- Barabhujigumpha,9- Trusulagumpha,10- Ambikagumpha,11- Lalatendukesarigumpha, 12- Unnamed, 13- Unnamed, 14- Ekadasigumpha,15- Unnamed,

The above nomenclature, however has no historical significances but accepted at present for the convenience of scholars and general readers. The art of Udayagiri and Khandagiri being almost contemporaneous with that of Sanchi, marks a striking resemblance with it but at he same time retains its own individuality and advance technique.

ee also

*Hathigumpha inscription


* R. P. Mohapatra : "Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, D. K. Publications, Delhi,1981 [http://mohapsa.tripod.com/rpmohapatra]
* Sachin Singhal: Orissa tourist road guide and political, Vardhman Publications, ISBN 81-8080-011-3
* Sadananda Agrawal: Sri Kharavela, Published by Sri Digambar Jain Samaj, Cuttack, 2000.

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