SARPA-GUMPHA CAVES ORISSA

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» East India
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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- 13 (SARPA-GUMPHA):
On the way back to the terrace which the visitor left to see Cave-10 and to the steps is a detached boulder in which are excavated two tiny caves, the upper one, facing east, called Sarpa-gumpha on account of the head of a three-hooded snake carved on the façade of the narrow verandah. It is now without any approach.

There are two short inscriptions in the cave, respectively above the doorway and on the left jamb. The former mentions two persons 'Chulakama' and 'Kothaji' and the latter labels the cave as ' the gift (pasado Sanskrit prasada) of 'Kamma' and 'Halakhina'.

CAVE-14 (HATHI-GUMPHA):
Hathi Gumpha, OrissaAt the back of the terrace is a large natural cavern of an irregular shape, enlarged by human hands for some sort of a shelter for occasional assemblage, as shown by chiselling and finishing at the back and side walls and platforms on the left. On the walls and platforms on the left. On the walls are scratched a few names, some in Gupta characters.

On the brow of the rock above the cavern is the famous inscription of King Kharavela. Architecturally, the rock-shelter is insignificant, its whole interest and importance lying in the inscription. The masonry-shed was built in 1902 in order to protect the inscription from the effect of weather.

Adjoining the cave, at different levels, is a number of oblong excavations, mostly open in front, without any verandahs, pillars or carvings. Some of them are called 'Pavanari' or 'Pavana-gumpha'.

CAVE-15 (DHANGHARA-GUMPHA):
A few metres to the right of Cave-14, approached by steps is a long cell, with a low ceiling, three doorways and a benched verandah, with two pillars and two pilasters. In front of the left pilaster is a turbaned guard, clad in a dhoti and scarf, with both hands resting on a long staff. The bracket over him is relieved with an elephant. The corresponding bracket on the right pilaster contains the forepart of a lion. The outer brackets of the pillars are badly damaged and the inner ones are relieved with honeysuckles alternating with lotuses.

The doorways are without flanking pilasters, though there are capitals, consisting of a pair of addorsed animals on a corbelled abacus above bell-shaped lotus. From the capitals spring plain arches, their outer edges being pointed at the top. The spaces between the arches are filled, in the same way as in other similar caves, with roof-shaped mouldings supported by bracket-figures and crowned by a two-barred railing.

To the left of this cave is a small oblong excavation open in front. Slightly higher up, near the top of the hill, is situated a damaged cave.

CAVE-16 (HARIDASA-GUMPHA):
From Cave-12 a flight of steps descends towards a group of three caves, of which the easternmost is called 'Haridasa', after the name of a sadhu who occupied it some time in the last century.

It is a spacious high chamber, with a slightly curved ceiling, preceded by a benched verandah with two pilasters and a pillar. The cell has three slanting doorways. The cave is devoid of carvings.

The inscription on the façade declares the cave to be the gift (pasato) of 'Chulakama' and 'Kothaji', who are also mentioned in the inscription above the doorway of Cave-13.

CAVE-17 (JAGANNATH-GUMPHA):
To the left of Cave-16 is Cave-17, Jagannatha-gumpha, so named from a late drawing of that god on the inner wall but the drawing no longer exists. It is a spacious rock-cut chamber, longest in the Udayagiri hill, with four entrances preceded by a benched verandah with three pillars and two pilasters. The central pillar passes through four, eight, sixteen, eight and four sides, with the arrises chamfered so as to achieve the effect of half-medallions.

The tops of the pillars and pilasters are relieved with a variety of motifs-deer seated back-to back, winged hybrid figure with the tail of a makara and forepart of a single-horned animal, another with the head of a bird and the body of an animal, fish, bird, flowers and plants on a ghata. The inner brackets are lost.

Four of the outer brackets are preserved: one has the figure of a seated gana supporting the superstructure with his left hand, another a vidyadhara holding a tray of flowers, the third a winged kinnara holding a garland and the fourth a standing gana, in the attitude of supporting the superstructure, with a crane by its side.

There are three niches for keeping lamps, two in the walls of the chamber and one in a verandah-pillar. They are probably later additions. The cell was plastered at one time. As in many caves, the caves are curved.

CAVE 18 (RASUI-GUMPHA):
Adjoining Cave-17 is Cave-18, the local name being due to its conversion into a kitchen when the painting of Jagannatha in Cave-17 was in worship. It is a small dwelling cell with a narrow pillarless verandah.



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