Jainism in Odisha (Orissa)

by Ashis Ranjan Sahoo | 2015 | 106,639 words

This essay studies the presence of Jainism in Odisha or Orissa by documenting the Art, Architecture and Iconography of Jaina images, relics, structures and establishments from different districts. In Odisha, archaeological evidences show how Jainism flourished during the 1st century BCE during the reign of emperor Kharavela, stating that Jainism wa...

Jaina Antiquities at Udayagiri Hills (Khordha)

Cave No.1 (Rani-Gumpha)

Rani-Gumpha consists of a double storied monastery covering three sides except the south eastern side which is being open[1]. The upper storey does not rest immediately above the lower one. It deserves unique place among the contemporary caves because of its style of execution i.e. architectural design of the caves, narrative sculptural art depiction both of social and religious scenes with symbols like srivatsa and nadipada as the crowning element of the arches of its different cells, depiction of flora and fauna of the contemporary period and above all about the knowledge of hydrological engineering by virtue of good drainage system.

Cave No.5 (Jaya-Vijaya-Gumpha)

The Jaya-Vijaya-Gumpha is a two celled cave excavated in the higher edge near Alakapuri-Gumpha. Guards, one male and a female are carved in high relief at the either end of the pilasters of the verandah. The space between the arches in the tympanum of the upper storey depicts the sacred tree within railing being worshipped by two couples with folded hands and flanked by flying figures holding trays full of flower garlands[2].

Cave No.9 (Manchapuri and Svargapuri-Gumpha)

This Manchapuri-Svargapuri-Gumpha is premeditated in the style of Rani-Gumpha but is smaller in scale than the latter. It is a double-storeyed cave, Manchapuri-Gumpha is the lower and Svargapuri-Gumpha is the upper one. In the lower storey we found the depictions of srivatsa and nandipada symbol on the door frame of the caves and guard figures at the either end of the pilasters. The most important religious scene of the cave is the depiction of worship of some Ja ina religious symbol which rest on a high pedestals[3].

Cave No.10 (Ganesa-Gumpha)

The Ganesa-Gumpha is a celled cave with a veranda in front and named so because of the figure of Ganesa engraved at the back of its right cell[4]. The back wall of left cell has a Tirthankara image carved in the relief. He is seated in dhyanamudra posture without lanchana. The arches of the door ways are carved with the symbols of nandipada and srivatsa where as the space between the arches are represented with narrative scenes like abduction scene replicated here as like Rani-Gumpha and Udayana-Vasavadatta story as mentioned by Agrawala. There is also a five line inscription, in character of circa 8th -9th centuries CE. The inscription was incised in the reign of the Bhauma king Santikara.

Cave No.12 (Bagha-Gumpha)

It consists of a single cell and a small verandah in front. Engraved so methodically by the mason that it depicts upper jaw with formidable teeth, eyes and noose which look like a mouth of a roaring tiger[5]. Representation of a lizard and a short inscription in the outer wall of the cave with a triangle headed symbol at the beginning and svastika at the end is noticed.

Cave No.14 (Hati-Gumpha)

A natural cavern of considerable extent of irregular shape it appears to have been enlarged in subsequent date. The seventeen line inscriptions of Kharavela[6] engraved on the frontal ridge of the shelter carries symbols of nandipada, srivatsa and swastika is the most important aspect of this caves. Besides, rock art motif[7] and some inscriptions are also noticed on the wall and ceiling of the Hati-Gumpha.

Footnotes and references:


Ibid., p.34.


Ibid., pp.42-43.


D. Mitra, op.cit., pp. 36-39.


Ibid., pp.39-43.


Ibid., p.45.


N.K. Sahu, Kharavela, Bhubaneswar, 1984, pp.312-313.


S. Pradhan, Prehistoric antiquities in Hatigumpha, Udayagiri hill, Odisha”, OHRJ, Vol. XVIII, 2005, pp.1-7.

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