GANESA-GUMPHA CAVES ORISSA

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» East India
» Orissa
Location : 6-km from Bhubaneswar Railway Station, District Puri, Orissa
Locally Known As : Gumpha
Famous As : A Jain Pilgrimage Centre
Architectural Style : Rock-cut Architecture

CAVE-10 (GANESA-GUMPHA):
Reaching the terrace the visitor will turn right to see Cave-10, which lies a few metres away. The popular name of the cave is in consequence of the figure of Ganesa, carved on the back of its right cell. The cave consists of two dwelling cells with low ceilings and a benched verandah in front.

Ganesh Gumpha, OrissaThe verandah had originally five pillars of the usual type, but the two right ones were knocked off, probably deliberately, at the time when the relief of Ganesa was carved on the wall, the intention being apparently to provide more space in front of the right cell, then converted into some sort of a sanctuary. The two detached elephants; each holding branches of a mango tree over a lotus, flanking the approach of this chamber were probably added in this period.

On the front face of the left pilaster is carved in high relief a standing turbaned guard, clad in a dhoti and a scarf, and ornamented with kundalas, his right hand holding a spear and left akimbo on the chest. Above his head, carved against the bracket is a recumbent bull.

The brackets of all the pillars are intact, but the outer ones are weatherworn. They are relieved with standing figures, each with one, either male or female, holding flowers, spouted vessel, trays and others. The sides of the brackets are relieved with flowers including honeysuckles. The shelf of the verandah is carved with a railing; so also is the lowest portion of the back wall of the verandah between the pilasters.

Each cell has two door-openings with sloping jambs and the usual decorations in the form of pilasters with capitals consisting of a pair of addorsed animals (deer, bull, horse and lion) seated on a corbelled abacus and a stepped base, and arches filled with flowers and creepers, issuing from the mouths of makaras, with nandipada or srivatsa in the top centre. The crowns of the outer edges of the arches are distinctly pointed.

The spaces between the first and second doorways on the one hand and the third and fourth on the other are relieved with two scenes, each above a railing supported by three squattish pot-bellied male and female figures. The remaining spaces between the left wall of the verandah and the first doorway, between the second and third doorways and between the fourth doorway and the right wall have the representations of a barrel-shaped roof of a structure, crowned by finials against a background of railing and supported by squattish figures.

The left scene, as already mentioned, is a replica of the abduction-scene carved on the façade of the upper storey of Cave-1 (Rani-gumpha). At the entrance of an artificial cave, by the side of a tree, is a man lying on a bed with his head resting on his right hand. A woman sits watching him near his feet with her right hand placed on his left thigh. Near the bed are his sword and shield. Next is seen a woman leading a man, walking with a stoop, towards the first pair, followed by the duel between a man and a woman, each armed with a shield and a sword. The scene ends with the man carrying off the vanquished woman.

Legend Behind the Second Scene
The second scene, probably unconnected with the first, recalls the popular story of the elopement of 'Vasavadatta', princess of 'Ujjayinin', with king 'Udayana' of Kausambi in the company of 'Vasantaka'. In the extreme left is a party of kilted soldiers, armed with swords and shields, hotly pursuing three persons, mounted on the back of an elephant.

One of the elephant-riders is a woman, who is in the role of a mahout, holding the elephant-goad in her right hand and a harp in her left; the middle figure, dressed in a kilt, who seems to be the chief man, is shooting arrows at the pursuers, and the hindermost, apparently a companion, is tempting the pursuers by showering coins at them from a bag. One of the kilted soldiers is prostrate on the ground, possibly to collect the coins.

Between the first episode and the second, which depicts the dismounting of the three persons form the kneeling elephant, is a tree, indicative of the wood where the scene took place. Next, the archer, no longer in kilt, leads the other two, the woman carrying a bunch of mangoes in her right hand and with her left hand resting on the shoulder of the archer and the companion, with the money-bag placed on his right shoulder.

Lastly, the woman is in a half-reclining posture on a bed, slightly disconsolate, and the man with folded hands is trying to console her. The companion holding the bow of his master and the moneybag now on his left shoulder is on the extreme right. The story of Udayana and Vasavadatta is found not only in Buddhist and Brahmanical literature but in Jain works as well.

The floors of the cells are raised in the rear end. In the partition-wall between the two cells there is a small window opening. The left cell has a crude late representation of a Tirthankara seated in yoga-mudra. In the right cell is the figure of Ganesa, holding a bowl of laddukas, hatchet, radish and rosary and seated in maharajalila on a footed seat, below which is depicted his mount mouse.

To the right of Ganesa is a five-lined record, in characters of the eighth-ninth century, of a physician 'Bhimata', son of 'Nannata', incised in the reign of the 'Bhauma' king 'Santikara'. Another inscription of the same Bhimata occurs on the wall of a cave excavated in the Dhauli hill.

CAVE-11 (JAMBESVARA-GUMPHA):
Situated to the right of the footpath descending down the hill from the west, the cave is a low cell with two plain door-openings preceded by a benched verandah, which is supported on a pillar and two pilasters, their brackets being plain.

Incised on the façade above the right door is an inscription recording that it was the cave of 'Nakiya', wife of 'Mahamade'. To the northwest of the cave, at a lower level, is a small cave open in front.

CAVE- 12 (BAGH-GUMPHA):
To the south-east of cave-11 is a small cave, Bagh-gumpha, so called on account of its front capriciously shaped into the semblance of the head of a tiger with the distended upper jaw, full of teeth, forming the roof of the verandah and the gullet forming the entrance-opening.

The door-jambs slope inwards and are flanked by pilasters with ghata-bases above stepped pedestals and with capitals, each consisting of a pair of crouching elephants, seated back-to-back on a stepped abacus above a bell-shaped lotus. Over the door is a plain arch, pointed at the top of the outer edge, with a railing on both sides.

On the right ceiling of the verandah is the representation of a lizard, while on the outer wall, to the right of the arch, is an inscription in two lines, with a triangle headed symbol within a railing at the beginning and a svastika at the end. The inscription states that the cave was of the town-judge 'Sabhuti'.



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