KHANDAGIRI-GUMPHA CAVES

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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-5 (KHANDAGIRI-GUMPHA):
Next to Cave-4, Cave-5 is called Khandagiri, from the cracks (khanda) in it, in front of which is a modern flight of steps descending to the main road. It consists of two plain cells. One above the other, both badly damaged. To its right, on the left side of the steps, are two more dilapidated cells, again one above the other the lower one is more a niche than a cave; the upper one has a small window. Over the top of the latter once stood a structure, as socket-holes for receiving the bases of the posts are still existing.

Khandagiri Caves, OrissaCAVE-6 (DHYANA-GHARA, DHAYANA-GUMPHA OR SHELL-CAVE):
To the south of Cave-5 are four caves almost in one row facing an artificial terrace. The first of them, Cave-6, is called 'Dhyana-ghara' or 'Dhyana-gumpha', the house or cave of meditation; the alternative name, Shell-cave, is derived from an inscription in shell characters engraved on the left wall.

Originally, a cell with a verandah having two pillars, it has now been turned into a spacious room with the front side open due to the deliberate removal (chisel-marks are there) of the front wall and also the fall of two pillars of the verandah. The architrave above the pillars of the verandah is extant. The floor was originally at a higher level. The sloping eaves are distinguished by the existence of four rock-cut handle-like contrivances.

CAVE-7 (NAVAMUNI-GUMPHA):
Next to Cave-6 is Cave-7. Its popular name is due to the figures of nine (nava) Tirthankaras (munis), excluding the smaller figure of 'Chandraprabha', carved on the back and right walls. In the group 'Parsvanatha' occurs twice, probably on account of his greater importance.

Originally, the cave consisted of two residential cells (as suggested by the pillow-like slope of the original floor-level) with a common verandah in front. Later on it was converted into a sanctuary by excavating the floor to a deeper depth and carving the figures of Tirthankaras. With the removal of the partition-wall between the two cells and also the front walls separating the cells from verandah, which was deliberately done to provide more space for the place of worship and it became a spacious chamber, open on the front side.

Both the pillars of the verandah have disappeared, leaving scanty traces of their top below the architrave. The cave was at one time plastered with shell-lime, patches of the plaster still surviving at many places. The two masonry pillars and also the floor with the raised portion at the back are modern constructions. Like Cave-6, the eaves of this cave are provided with four handle-like perforations.

There are altogether five inscriptions, one mentioning sravakiruvi below the figure of 'Parsvanatha' on the right wall of the right cell, three on the remnant of the partition-wall of the right cell, three on the remnant of the partition-wall and the fifth, the largest and in three lines, on the inner side of the architrave of the verandah.

The last is the most important, as it records the work of 'Subhachandra'. Disciple of 'Kulachandra', who was an acharya (teacher) of the Desi-gana derived from the Graha-kula belonging to the Arya-samgha, in the eighteenth regnal year of 'Udyotakesari', who belonged to the 'Somavamsi' dynasty and ruled over Orissa in the 11th century. Of three inscriptions on the partition-wall, one again mention the same Subhachandra and the other two the names of two students (chhatra), 'Vijo' and 'Sridhara'.

As stated above, on the back wall of what was originally the right cell are carved in high relief seven Tirthankaras, 'Rishabhanatha', 'Ajitanatha', 'Sambhavanatha', 'Abhinandana', 'Vasupujya', Parasvanatha and 'Neminatha', all seated cross-legged with both soles visible (yoga-mudra) within niches rounded at the top. Over their heads are the canopies of three-tiered umbrellas flanked by a pair of hands playing on cymbals.

On either side of Tirthankaras stand fly-whisk-bearers with meagre loincloth. Though the figures are greatly weathered, partly on account of the coarse-grained texture and brittle nature of the stone, they display considerable workmanship. The varied treatment of the hairstyle is specially noteworthy; some of them have their jatas tied and folded on their heads and others have them arranged in the shape of a cone, while Neminatha has his spiral curls arranged in a top-knot like that of Buddha. None of them has any halo behind them nor any srivatsa-mark on the chest.

Below the figures of Tirthankaras are their sasana-devis, 'Chakresvari', 'Rohini', 'Prajnapti', 'Vajrasrinkhala', 'Gandhari', 'Padmavati' and 'Amra', executed in medium relief. Bedecked in sparse but elegant ornaments, they are clad in sadis and short diaphanous scarves placed obliquely on their chests and left shoulders. Preceded by the figure of Ganesa, seated in Maharajalila and holding a bowl of sweet-balls (to which his trunk is applied), a hatchet (parasu), a rosary and a radish, the seven sasana-devis are reminiscent of the Brahmanical Sapta-Matrikas.

The grouping may not be accidental, as most of them show characteristics, which are not available in the Jain texts, but which appear in their Brahmanical prototypes, of which a good many sculptures exist at Bhubaneswar. With their attributes and mounts they disclose unmistakably the assimilation of the Brahmanical deities into the Jain pantheon.

On the right wall are two reliefs, one of Parsvanatha and the other Rishabhanatha, both seated in yogasana on a lotus flanked by fly-whisk-bearers. Parsvanatha, seated under a seven-hooded canopy, is distinguished for his bejewelled jata-mukuta. On either side of the canopy is a flying figure holding a garland. Beneath the lotus-seat is a ghata flanked by a naga-figure.

Below this relief is the inscription reading sravakiruvi. Rishabhanatha has a halo round his head. Below his seat is his cognizance, bull. The relief is unfinished and may not be contemporary with the main group.

On the left wall is carved a small figure of Chandraprabha seated on a lotus, below which is the representation of the moon. His spiral curls are arranged in a top-knot.

CAVE-8 (BARABHUJI-GUMPHA):
Adjoining Cave-7, beyond a rock-cut stairway, is Cave-8, Barabhuji-gumpha, so called from two twelve-armed (bara-bhuji) figures of sasana-devis carved on the sidewalls of the verandah. It is a long chamber, with a convex ceiling, preceded by a pillared verandah.

The cell was originally a dormitory, as proved by the pillow like inclination of the floor. When it was, like Cave-7, converted into a sanctuary by carving the images, it was felt necessary to increase its height, and this was achieved by scooping out the floor to a greater depth. The backbench together with the dividing walls between the three doorways was also removed in this period. The two concrete piers and the flooring are modern. At one time the entire chamber was coated with plaster of shell-lime.

Two modern pillars have taken the place of the missing old ones, of which the tops can still be seen, with a bracket relieved with two honeysuckles alternating with lotuses. The missing pillars, on the analogy of the pilasters, were square below and above and octagonal in the middle. Accommodated in the left wall of the verandah is a shelf. The roof of the verandah projects in front to form the caves.

There are altogether twenty-five figures of Tirthankaras on the walls of the cell, distributed on all three walls, Parsvanatha being repeated twice. Of the two figures of Parsvanatha, one is in its usual position the series; the other occupies the first place on the back wall. The latter is larger in size than the rest and is shown stripped of all raiments, standing in Kayotsarga pose, with its long hands hanging by its sides, on a double-petalled lotus under the seven-hooded canopy of a serpent.

Above its head are three-tiered umbrella cymbals beaten by hands and flying figures holding garlands. On his either side is a three-hooded naga seated with folded hands and a standing fly-whisk-bearer, one above the other. The figure of his sasana-devi is absent. Parsvanatha occupies the position of the mula-nayaka (chief lord) of the cave.

The remaining Tirthankaras are seated cross-legged with their feet resting on thighs (yogasana) on double-pettalled lotuses supported on lions, in yoga-mudra beneath the trees under which they attained their kevala-jnana (Supreme knowledge); above their heads is a three-tiered umbrella, one of the eight pratiharyas.

Flanked on either side by an attendant holding a fly-whish, all, except Parsvanatha, have a halo round their heads. Celestial music is indicated by cymbals played by the hands of invisible persons; near them are two flying figures holding garlands.

The general appearance of all these figures is the same as if they have been cast in the same as if they have been cast in the same mould: but for their distinctive lanchhanas (emblems) carved below their lotus-seats, they would have passed as the same Tirthankara. The lanchhanas, it may be noted, do not always tally with those prescribed in the canons. The srivatsa mark is absent on the chests of the Tirthankaras.

Beneath the Tirthankaras are, in separate compartment, their respective sasana-devis, all seated in ardhaparyankasana except 'Mahamanasi', who is seated cross-legged, and 'Bahurupini', who is lying. Twenty of them sit on legged seats, and four-the fourth, sixteenth, twenty-second and twenty-third-on lotuses, below which are their animal-mounts. All, except Bahurupini and 'Padmavati' who has a canopy of snake, have haloes behind their heads. Draped in sadis, they are all decked in usual ornaments like bangles, necklaces, ear-ornaments, girdles and jata-mukutas.

On the left wall of the verandah is a twelve-armed figure of 'Chakresvari' wearing a sadi held by a girdle, bangles, armlets, a necklace, an upavita, anklets, kundalas and a mukuta and seated in lalitasana on a double-petalled lotus, below which are 'Garuda' and a devotee with a water-pot in between. One of her right hands is varada, the second holds a sword and the third a disc. Of her left hands, one is held against her chest and three carry a shield, a bell and a disc.

The remaining attributes are damaged. The relief was originally painted; traces of black lines on a darkish red background are discernible at places. Above her head is her Jina 'Rishabhanatha' with a bull below.

On the right wall of the verandah is a twelve-armed figure of 'Rohini' seated with her bull below, in the same pose as 'Chakresvari'. Among the attributes, vara, banner, ankusa and disc in the right hands and sankha, water-pot, twig or tridandaka and disc in the left are recognizable. Above her head is her Jina 'Ajitanatha' with an elephant.



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