In the olden times, Orissa was known as 'Utkal', implying 'utkarsh in kala', i.e., phenomenal in the arts. Jainism stands as one of the antiquated religions of India. It has a prodigious contribution in the field of architecture. The 'Utkal Desha' stands as a testimony to the noteworthy innovative power of Jain sculptural art, carved in the walls of the rocks of the hills of Udaygiri and Khandagiri, also known as Kumariparvat, situated in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. In this walk, we will understand how the colossal caves were constructed, and learn about the Jain legends, folklore, society and the iconography depicted on the eighteen rock-cut caves. We will understand how a Chedi prince, king Kharavela, arrived from the north, battled, conquered and annexed the region, and how he became 'Kalingadhipati', i.e., 'lord of Kalinga'. This walk will include the decipheration and transcription of the 17-line Kharavela inscription in the Brahmi script, found in the fourteenth cave, Hanthigumpha, The Brahmi script is the earliest writing system developed in ancient India after the Indus script.

This guided tour is free.

Walk Leader
Debika Mondal
A student of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology from Banaras Hindu University, Debika is currently pursuing an MBA in Tourism and Travel Management at the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, Bhubaneswar. She has a keen interest in ancient Indian architecture, especially temple architecture, and is also an amateur photographer and enjoys reading travel novels. She has attended several heritage walks held by Sahapedia in Varanasi, and can read and write the AshokanBramhi script.