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King Kharavela of Kalinga

Updated on May 24, 2015
King Kharavela of Kalinga
King Kharavela of Kalinga

Kharavela of Kalinga

The Kalinga Kingdom was located in central-eastern India, which comprised most of the modern state of Orissa. This was repeatedly conquered by Mauryans. Asoka the Great of Mauryan / Magadha Empire conquered this kingdom in mid 4th cen BC. In Post-Mauryan period this kingdom was ruled by Cheta or Chaitra dynasty (Founded by Maha MeghaVerma) to which Kharavela belongs to. Kharavela became prince after completing his 15th year and obtained the King status as soon as he completed his 24th year.

Kharavela was the warrior king of Kalinga and was contemporary of the Sungas (An early dynasty in India after The Great Mauryan Empire / Magadha) and his period was believed to be from 2nd cen BC to 7th cen BC. His details are luckily available from the only inscription found at Hathigumpha. Hathigumpha is a Jain cave contributed by Kharavela which contain the inscription about him (Kharavela) in Prakrit Language and this was ably edited by K.P.Jayaswal and R.D. Banerjee. In this inscription the history of Kharavela was depicted basing on his regnal years (Years in which the King reigned). Only information about 13 regnal years was depicted.

Hathigumpha, Jain cave on Udayagiri Hills, Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
Hathigumpha, Jain cave on Udayagiri Hills, Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
Hatigumpha inscription
Hatigumpha inscription

13 regnal years of kharavela according to Hathigumpha Inscription

  1. In his first regnal year, the capital city of Kalinga was repaired and upgraded with reservoirs and beautified with gardens.
  2. In the second year, a huge army was sent to help the Kasapa Kshatriyas. He defeated Satakarni and capital of Mushika was annexed to his territory.
  3. In the third year, of his reign, Kharavela, held thearitical performances, dances and other shows whereby he entertains the capital.
  4. In the fourth year, he conquered the Rashtrikas and Bhoja kingdoms. He also made repairs to some sacred buildings.
  5. In the fifth year, he repaired and extended an old canal into the capital. This canal was initially built by Nandas 300 years before.
  6. In the sixth year, Kharavela granted some privilages to the Paura and Janapada corporations.
  7. The Records about his seventh regnal year were unavailable. It appears that he got married in this year.
  8. In eighth regnal year, Kharavela, invaded Magadha. He brought the idols of tirtankaras back, which were taken by Mahapadmananda from them before.
  9. In the ninth regnal year, he gave costly gifts to brahmans who were persuaded to accept them, by lavish feasts. He built a Great Palace known as The Palace of Victory on the banks of the river Prachi (near Bhubaneswar) at the cost of 36 lakh silver coins.
  10. In the tenth regnal year, Kharavela sent a huge army to Northern India. Other information was unavailable.
  11. In the eleventh regnal year, he defeated some Tamil Kingdoms. He also led in procession the wooden statue of Ketu-Bhadra who had flourished 1300 years before.
  12. In his twelfth regnal year, Kharavela invaded Magadha again and brought huge wealth and utilized the same in constructing Jain Temples. One of the Basadi (A Jain shrine or temple, including residences of scholars attached to the shrine) built by him was found at Amaravati (Maha MeghaVerma Basadi). In the same year he brought many precious things to Kalinga from the King of Pandyans which include precious stones, rich articles and also horses, elephants etc.
  13. In the thirteenth year he devoted his energies to religious acts, he also carried forward many public welfare activities.

Ranigumpha was another cave near Hathigumpha contributed by Kharavela.

According to an inscription of Satakarni, Satakarni - II defeated Kalinga and annexed the entire territory to his kingdom after Kharavela.


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    • profile image

      Rounak Panda, Class-V-C, Stewart school, BBSR 

      4 years ago

      The caves at Khadagiri and Udaigiri are the living pieces of architecture. But unfortunately,some visitors make the walls dirty by scribbling on it . The govt. should give special attention towards it.

    • profile image

      Raju rekha jath 

      6 years ago

      Nice i like kalinga

    • profile image

      seetha ram 

      6 years ago

      some more details will be more helpful

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i like

    • rath_anshuman profile image


      8 years ago

      My home is ony a few hundred meters from these caves (these caves are now in the beautiful town of Bhubaneswar in Orissa). They are truly amazing places..

      You should let me know if you need travel information to these palces. Although I have been living elsewhere now, I will be able to help you out in your travels/traveils.

    • dilipchandra12 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dilip Chandra 

      8 years ago from India

      Nellieanna... those are actually caves constructed for the jain monks for taking rest, we can say rest houses. They are also used as schools, the monks teach their students in here. the place is completely considered as a holy place and so called as temples too.

    • jite profile image


      8 years ago from delhi

      Great Hub,I like this hub

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have visited these places and its wonderful to read on it again .. Refreshed my memory!! Thanks for this wonderful hub!!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Dilipchandra! This is mind-boggling history! I'm going to need to read it over and become accustomed to the names of the places and people and their positions, in order to try to absorb it all. But it is fascinating. That Jain temple (or school? - what?) in the cave is amazing. Most interesting!


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