Monks, Caves & Kings-II

Bhubaneswar, December 16,
2017: If you think, the tales of Twin Hills of Udayagiri-Khandagiri is only
relating to Jain religious shrines, then you might be missing many a things.

The rock art inside the
Elephant Caves (Hati gumpha) discovered by Prof Sadashiba Pradhan during an
expedition in 2008 threw a new light on the ancientness of the place and it
could be nearly 5,000 to 10,000 years old and might be used as caves by people
from ancient world.
Tour guide Manoj Bhoi, a
student of History, himself in the past, while explaining the interesting
stories behind the Udayagiri-Khandagiri Twin Hills said “the rock art
discovery by Prof Sadashiba Pradhan has proved that there were human beings
inside the caves and the rock art is speaking about the activities of the users
and the sociological circumstances.’’
Saying that apart from
the rock-art the Hati Gumpha is also having a beautiful inscription, Manoj
added that the city has recently added existence of fine rock art samples at
Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary and the site is under the protection of
both Forest Department and Archaeological Survey of India. Hati Gumpha is
perhaps the only natural cave in the Twin Hills of Udayagiri and Khandagiri,
whereas all others were created by human beings.
The 35 visitors, part of
the walk today, toured Rani Gumpha, often claimed by historians as a community
performance hall, which for the first time has a cultural show. The 2nd Century
engraving also depicted with elements of modern social thoughts. The guide also
said that “the damsels dancing before their male counterparts are no where
found depicted in any monument across India.’’
Later while speaking
about the Lalatendukeshari Gumpha behind the Barabhuja Caves and shrines in
Khandagiri hills, walkers were surprised to see the roc-cut, life-size relief
images above the hill making a very good sight.
Udayagiri-Khandagiri caves are 1,200 years older than the caves seen in Ellora
but the cave like Hati Gumpha is much older, making the Twin Hills an important
sculptural splendour for our City,’’ explained the guide.
Prof. Chitta Baral from
Arizona State University in US, who was part of the second “Monks, Caves 
Kings’’, today, said “I am happy to see the second heritage walk of the city
within almost a year’s time and the regularity is a thing to be congratulated.
We must have more such walks to engage the visitors, both domestic and foreign.
We can also plan tours for sites within 20 km radius of the city.’’
It can be mentioned here
that all heritage walks will be part of the Ekamra Walks, but as the first one
is now referred as Old City or Lingaraj Circuit, the second one is called
“Monks, Caves and Kings’’.
The Old Town heritage
walk starts from Mukteswar Temple and ends at Ekamra Van, the medicinal plant
garden on Sunday and on Saturday the heritage walk at the Twin Hills starts
from Udayagiri and ends at the Lalatendukeshari Caves in Khandagiri.

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