CAVE-9 (TRISULA-GUMPHA, SATBAKHRA OR MAHAVIRA-GUMPHA):
Adjacent to Cave-8, this cave, like the two preceding ones, was originally a dwelling cell with three doorways and a verandah having two pillars and pilasters of the usual type and two shelves at either end, but had its walls between the doorways removed and floor lowered at the time of its conversion to a sanctuary, which, to judge from the workmanship of the reliefs, took place last in the series.
Both the pillars of the verandah are modern and also are the concrete ones supporting the remnant of the partition between the doorways. Patches of old plaster may still be seen adhering to the walls and pilasters at places.
Ranged along the three sides of the chamber are the reliefs of twenty-four robeless Tirthankaras of crude workmanship. Stylistically they are much later than those in Cave-8 and do not seem to date earlier than the 15th century. Parsvanatha, instead of being placed before 'Mahavira', the twenty-fourth Tirthankara, occupies a roughly central place on the back wall.
Of the Tirthankaras, eight- 'Rishabhanatha', 'Ajitanatha', 'Sitalanatha', 'Parsvanatha', 'Vasupujya', 'Vimalanatha', 'Sreyamsanatha' and 'Mahavira' -are standing in kayotsarga pose. That they were regarded as the more important in the group is suggested by their height being larger than those of the seated ones, the latter more or less of a uniform size.
The figure of Rishabhanatha, the first Tirthankara, is the largest in the group. The seated figures are poised in yoga-mudra on lotuses resting on simhasana. All of them have fly-whisk-bearers; the standing ones further distinguished by the addition of two naga devotees. Over most of the figures are the representations of the top of a pidha-deul.
The three chlorite images of Rishabhanatha which are installed on the masonry altar at the rear end of the chamber did not originally belong to this cave, but found their way after the extinction of the place of their initial enshrinement, probably a structural temple, All of them stand robeless in kayotsarga pose on a double -petalled lotus, below which are their lanchhana, bull.
On either side of their legs is a standing fly-whisk-bearer draped in a dhoti and decked in ornaments and above are the flying figures holding garlands and hands playing on cymbals and drums. The head of the smallest of the three, now mutilated, has a halo with a finely carved border. The back slabs of the other two are distinguished by the figures of either grahas, 'Surya' holding the stalks of two full-bloomed lotuses, 'Chandra', 'Mangala', 'Budha', 'Brihaspati', 'Sukra' and 'Sani', each having a vase in its left hand and 'Rahu', represented by its head only, carrying the moon. The largest of the three has a trefoil arch behind its head.
The facial expression of the figures is highly pleasing; so also is the youthful modelling of the body. Particularly noteworthy is their hairstyle where the artist has lavished al his skill. The srivatsa-mark is absent in all cases. The figures, to judge from the workmanship are the work of the 11th-12th century A D.
On the top of this cave is an oblong masonry structure with its roof and crowning elements fashioned after a temple of the pidha order. It was probably built in a comparatively recent period, when the three images were installed inside by the Jain's, who also added a structural pillared verandah to the cave, removed in the first decade of the present century.
Proceeding southward, the visitor will find to his right traces of caves, now completely destroyed by large-scale quarrying which has extensively disturbed this part of the hill and removed the vestiges of many a cave. Three reliefs, two of 'Rishabhanatha' and one of 'Amra', the sasana-devis of 'Neminatha', may be seen carved against the back wall of one of these extinct caves.
The reliefs, perched at a height of about 5m, are now inaccessible, the original level of the hill having been considerably lowered by quarrying. But for the scanty remnant of the partition-wall, on which also was a relief, the prior existence of a cave here would never have been suspected.
Both the figures of Rishabhanatha are robeless and stand in kayotsarga pose on a double-petalled lotus supported by a pair of lion with a bull below. On their sides are eight grahas and two fly-whisk-bearers. Above their heads are three-tiered umbrellas flanked by cymbals and drums played by hands, below which are flying figures holding garlands. Both wear the jata-mukuta, but in different fashions.
The left half of Amra is partly destroyed. Standing under a mango-tree above which is her jina approached by a flying figure, and clad and decked in a sadi, a girdle, bangles, armlets and kundalas, she stands in a captivating tribhanga (three-flexioned) pose on a double-petalled lotus, below which is a lion. Her facial expression and hairstyle are remarkable. Near her right palm stands a boy.
Immediately after Cave-10, at a re-entering angle of the face of rock, is a cave locally called the Lalatendukesari-gumpha. This cave has fared no better than the preceding one. Originally, it consisted of two cells preceded by a pillared verandah. The pillars, partition-wall and the major portion of the floor, together with the rock beneath, have been quarried away, so that the cave is now inaccessible. The surviving pilasters are of the usual type.
One the back and left walls of the left cell are carved two figures of Rishabhanatha and three of Parsvanatha, all standing in kayotsarga with their usual paraphernalia. The right cell has three figures, two of Parsvanatha and one of Rishabhanatha, in the same pose. On its back wall above an empty niche (which might have contained a detached image) and also above Rishabjanatha is a damaged inscription, in five lines, dated in the fifth regnal year of the Somavamsi king Udyotakesari, recording the restoration of a decayed vapi (step well) and decayed temples on the Kumara hill (present Khandagiri) and also the setting up of the images of twenty-four Tirthankaras there.
The vapi referred to in the inscription is probably the Akasa-ganga, a rockcut stepped pool situated close to this cave and originally connected with it by a flight of steps, of which seven have escaped the hands of stone-cutters. Due to the quarrying operations the pool is now at a level higher than the footpath and is only approachable from the top.
From the inscription it is not clear whether the images of the twenty-four Tirthankaras were installed in structural temples or were mere reliefs on the walls of a cave. At the same time, the find of detached images, coupled with a large number of architectural members of masonry temples, including amalakas and khapuris, that lie a little further south near the fork of the footpath, proves the existence of structural temples near the cave.
CAVES 12-15 AND OTHER MINOR MONUMENTS:
From the fork bifurcates a second track going up, first to the Akasa-ganga and next to the Jain temple on the crest of the hill. The undermentioned monuments along the main track beyond this point are unimportant, and the visitor may omit them and proceed to the Jain temple via the Akasa-ganga.
Following the main track for a short distance one will encounter a small rock-cut pool, called the Radhakunda; at its southwestern corner is the remnant of a dwelling cave (Cave-12) consisting of two cells, with the floor raised, as usual, at the rear end. Beyond this is another cave (Cave-13) with two long dwelling cells, the front portion of which, together with the partition, has fallen. In front of the cells is a benched and four-pillared verandah, in ruins.
A flight of steps from the left side of the Radhakunda leads up to a barren ledge. About 100m from this place is a natural cavern with a depression in the middle of the floor containing water and provided with a modern masonry entrance. It is locally known as the Syama-kunda.
A few metres to the southwest, at a lower level, is a long dwelling cave, Cave-14, locally called the Ekadasi-gumpha, open in front. Its roof is supported a modern masonry pillar. Traces of its plaster with bands in red pigment still linger on the sidewalls.
Circling round the hill for some distance, a small cave, Cave-15, open in front, is visible on the west side, near the foot of the hill. The floor of the cell, which faces west, has the usual pillow-like inclination.
To the northeast of the last, at a higher level, is a long natural tunnel. At the rear end is a small pool of water, locally known as the Gupta-ganga. To its left are three low natural caverns slightly improved by the human hand. The walls of the central one, the best of the three, have been made smooth by chiselling.