Khandagiri (The broken hill) and Udaygiri (The hill of sunrise) are two of the most striking aspects of Bhubaneswar’s magnificent history and sublime beauty. The hills were located such that Jain monks could meditate there in peace and did not have to wander off much farther to collect alms. That’s the same strategy, all monkeys living there now employ.
These hill tops have the best view of Bhubaneswar’s skyline. So if you want to look at clear skies and beautiful city lights without any thought of jumping off the hill crossing your mind, this is your spot.
According to inscriptions found here, rulers of the Chedi dynasty(The Mahameghavahanas) were enjoying the seat of power in erstwhile Konarka. That was long ago, even before your ancestors were unfertilized eggs. Vakradeva(or Kudepasiri), Kharavela and Vadukha were some of the most prominent rulers in the dynasty as discovered from the inscriptions.Vakradeva and Vadukha were donors of two cells of the lower floor of Manchapuri cave of Udaygiri.
Scan through the caves where ‘Ajit loves Rupa’ and such later inscriptions are made mercilessly and chances are you can find the particular cave.
According to inscriptions of Haathigumpha cave, Kharvela was the third ruler of his dynasty. In the thirteenth year of his rule he excavated caves on Kumariparvata(present day Khandagiri-Udaygiri) for monks. That was when your ancestor eggs got fertilized. After the fall of Chedi dynasty, Jainism receded in Konark, but the hills stood tall as a hallmark of Jain influence and symbolism. Towering like a soul of a glorious past hovering around its city, these hills remind us of the essence of an era lost behind.
During the rule of the Somavamsis(another dynasty during the formation of your ancestors’ fertilised egg), Kumaraparvata was remodeled. Sanctuaries were erected in a few cells and carvings of Tirthankaras were etched out. One of the striking features of Khandagiri-Udaygiri architecture is the presence of structural shrines instead of usual rock-cut ones. All the caves have varying heights. An inclined elevation at the floor of each cave must have served purpose as a pillow. Try swapping rocks for pillows and you will get a drift of monk life. Shelves were cut on walls to keep certain articles and items. These shelves were not large enough to stack your Playboy collection or Barbies, just bare necessity stuff.
The caves are of two kinds: plain with pillared verandahs and the ones without pillared verandahs. As there was no river flowing by the side of these caves, a few reservoirs were cut on the rocks to conserve rain water. Learn from them people, water conservation is essential. Two examples would be Hathi-nisuni and lalita-kunda on eastern and north-eastern sides of Ganesha-gumpha of Udaygiri and Akasha-ganga and Radha-kunda on Khandagiri .
Glimpse of Khandagiri and Udayagiri :
The Rediscover Series is an attempt by The Broken Scooter to help you “re-experience” the enigma and essence of an era lost behind.
Photos Courtesy : Sankar Kanhar
Story by : Soumitra Pattnaik