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...

Inscriptions outside of Udayagiri and Khandagiri Hills

[Full title: Inscriptions outside of Udayagiri and Khandagiri Hills related to Jainism of Odisha]

(a). Guntupally Inscription of the time of Mahameghavahana Siri Sada

The inscription engraved on four pillars was discovered at the village Guntupally about six miles from Kamvarapukota in west Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh[1]. The same inscription is found engraved on four different pillars with slight variations. It was first edited by Dr. R. Subramanyam[2], with the caption “Guntupally Brahmi Inscription of Kharavela” in Epigraphical series, No.3., Hyderabad, 1968.

Pillar No-1
L. 1. Mah[a]rajasa Kaliga Mah[i]
L. 2. Sakadhipatisa [Ma]hame-
L. 3. [Kha]vahanasa Siri-Sada
L. 4. [sa] Ie [khakasa] Ch[u]la go
L. 5. masa madapo danam [ II]

Pillar No-2
L. 1. Maharajasa Kaliga-Mahisak[a]
L. 2. dhipatisa Mahamekhava [ha]
L. 3. nasa Siri Sadasa lekha-
L. 4. kasa Chula-gomasa mam-
L. 5. dapo danam [II]

Pillar No-3
L. 1. Maharajasa Kaliga
L. 2. Mahisakadhipadhisa Ma-
L. 3. hamekhavahanasa
L. 4. Siri Sadasa lekha-
L. 5. Kasa Chula [go]masa mada
L. 6. po danam [II]

Pillar No-4
L. 1. Maharajasa Kaliga Ma
L. 2. hisaka-adhipatisa Maha-
L. 3. makhavahanasa Siri Sa
L. 4. dasa lekhakasa Chula go-
L. 5. masa madapo danam [II]

Translation: (This) pavilion is the gift of Chula-goma (who is) the scribe of Sri Sada, the Mahameghavahana Maharaja, the Lord of Kalinga and Mahisaka[3].

(b) Asanpat Nataraj Image Inscription of Satrubhanja

The inscription found inscribed on the pedestal of an image of Nataraj is found at Asanpat of Keonjhar district but now preserved in the Odisha state museum[4]. The inscription is written in eastern variety of the north Indian alphabet of about the 6th century CE. The language is Sanskrit and it is partly in prose and partly in verse. Introducing the reigning king with a few epithets the charter begins with two verses in lines 1-3. He is said to have born in Naga family, the moon among the kings, the illustrious ranaslaghin of his family, who made the fame of his family and his father last as long as the end of krta-yuga (kali-yuga). Further, he has been described as devaputra, whose valour remained unchecked in hundreds of battles, who was like the kalpa-vrksa, having the quality of the god of wealth on earth and who was like the sun having a mass of splendor. Lines 3-13 contain a passage in prose, which records that the reigning king Maharaja Satrubhanja, son of Maharaja Manabhanja, born of Mahadevi Damayanti, who was born in the Naga family and called the lord of Vindhyatavi, the forest kingdom in the Vindhyan region, made gifts of lakhs of cows at the holy places of Pataliputra, Gaya, Krimila, Dala (or Lala)vardhana, Pundravardhana, Gokkhati, Khadranga and Tamralipti, and also in both the Tosalis. He made gifts of lakhs of hiranya or gold (coins) and made grants at various mathas, such as Sankhakara matha situated at Ahichatra and the Manibhadra matha at Yaksesvara. He built houses and monasteries for monks, who belonged to different religious communities, such as the brahmacarins, the parivrajakas, the bhiksus and the nirgranthakas. He gave alms to the heretics. The king claims to have studied the Bharata (Mahdbhdrata), Purana, Itihasa, Vydkarana (grammar), Samiksa, Nyaya, Mimamnsa, Chandas (metrical science), Sruti (Veda), the scriptures of the Buddhists and Sdmkhya. He has been described as the storehouse of superior knowledge and an expert in all the arts. He is stated at the end of the record to have built a temple for god (Siva).

(c) Banapur Copper Plate Grant of Dharmaraja alias Manabhita

The Banapur copper plate grant of Dharmaraja alias Manabhita (695-740 CE.) of the Sailodbhava dynasty is found at Banapur of present Khordha district[5]. The grant written in verse, except the grant portion and the language is Sanskrit, it is dated to samvat 1(?), the month of Phalguna.

The grant mentions that a plot of land measuring three timpiras, situated in the locality of Suvarnaralondi in the district of Thorana and another plot of land measuring two and one-fourth timpiras at the village of Madhuvataka, attached to the Randa-simha, were granted in favour of ka-ta Prabhudhachandra, who was a disciple of the ardhacharya Nasichandra. The grant was made, possibly for the maintenance of a religious establishment, with bali, charu and satra. D.C Sircar stated that Prabhudhachandra was possibly a Jaina monk who was noted as eka-aja/ ka-ta as he was taken a vow two wear only one piece of cloth[6].

Footnotes and references:


N.K. Sahu, op.cit., pp.368-372.


D.C. Sircar (ed.), “An alleged Inscription of Kharavela” in JAIH, Vol. III, parts1-2, 1969-70, pp. 30-36.


N.K. Sahu, op.cit.


S. Tripathy, Inscriptions of Orissa, Vol. I, New Delhi, 1997, pp.171-172.


Ibid., pp.252-257.


R.P. Mohapatra, Jaina Monuments of Orissa, Delhi, 1984, pp.79-80.

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