The sixth century BC. was a period of great religious upheaval, Reformers all over the world protested against the existing social and religious evils and attempted to reconstruct a new socio-religious order. Confucius in China, Zoroaster in Iran. Permanides in Greece and in India too, two great Juminaries- Mahavira and Gautam Buddha gave birth to Jainism and Buddhism respectively.
The basic principle of Jainism based on the theory of Ahimsa or non-violence- infused a new life into the old and shattered society. It not only protested against the ritualistic form of religion, the brutality of caste, the dominance and tyranny of Brahmins but also advocated the social equality, justice, and freedom, doctrines of non-violence, non-accumulation and love.
The Prachi, a small river of over 60 km in length with a catchments area of around 600 sq km is a part of the Mahanadi system in the coastal plains of Odisha and presently the parts of the modern day districts of Puri, Khurda Cuttack and Jagatsingpur comprise the Prachi valley region. The valley once cradled a civilization which is so rich and varied in character that its glory can hardly be explained. It is considered as the holiest river of Odisha and rightly called the Easter Saraswati.
In its valley, there is everything that makes the history of Odisha most outstanding and glorious. Without the study of ancient sites, monuments and antiquities of Prachi valley, the realm of Odisha history seems incomplete.
Jaina Relics in Prachi Valley: Asystematic exploration work taken by us in the Prachi valley as well as the survey of literature of the previous researches reveals that Jainism flourished simultaneously with Buddhism, Saivism. Vaisnavism, and Saktism in the Prachi valley.
A number of Jaina relics are laying scattered in various parts of the valley, and in some places they are kept in the Shiva temple premises However, the Jaina images can not be connected with the dating of the temples where they are found. Now, few images are preserved in the Odisha State Museum and Indian Museum, Kolkata.
There are several findings spots of Risabhanatha images in the valley Lisbeth Image in Svapsvars which are enumerated below.
Shiva temple no-2 lies within long. – 860107″ E.; lat. – 20 1257 N., elev. – 66 ft on the embankment of a tank in the midst of the village Adaspur under Niali tehsil of Cuttack district is located on the left bank of the river Pracht. It is situated on the left side of Niall-Madhava road (SH-60) leading from Phulnakhara on NH.-5 to Chanchhaka.
It is about 38 km from the capital city of Bhubaneswar and at a distance of 7 km from the Sobhanesvara temple of Niali. The original temple had a sanctum and an undeveloped jugamohana is now vanished. Presently a new pidhi temple preceded by a R.C.C open pillared mundapu is built.
A beautiful Tirthankara image of Risabhanatha” is now kept on the night side of the jagamukana facing to the presiding deity. The image is carved out in a single piece of black chlorite stone measuring 50 x 25 x 125 cm in height, width and depth respectively.
The image is engraved in kaylasarga posture over a drapadma, completely nude, elongated ear-lobes, half-closed eyes focusing on the tip of the nose; wearing a jatamtukuta with curls arranged in tiers on either side of a central vertical band and few locks of the juta. as usual falls on the shoulder, Behind the head is the egg- shaped pravabali with motifs of lotus petals; tri-linear umbrella above the head, now badly eroded is crowned by kevala tree, flanked by two flying Fifyudaras with garland one on each side and finally the torso of a celestial playing music (7) is carved at each upper corner. The lunchhana bull faces to its left is depicted just below the lotus pedestal in the centre, flanked by two female devotees in anjali mudra one on cach side and two lion figures at each corner.
The sides of the main deity depicted with miniature twenty nude Tirthankaras in kisyotasarga pose, ten on each side arranged in pairs, while another pair stands on each side at the base of Risabhanatha. The two worshippers Bharata and Bahubali prescribed in the Jaina text, stands over a separate small viswapadma, holds a chauri over one shoulder flanked the deity.
The worshipper on the right of the deity stands its alidha pose while on the left one in pratyafidha pose The peculiarities of the image will lead one to identify Risabhanatha as mulanayakur and exhibits the perfect calm and an inward look with half-closed eyes suggesting a divine dignity. Regarding its date scholars view differently.
While P. K. Ray dated this image to the 7 century AD on the other hand Behera and Donaldson put the image to late 11 or early 12″ century AD. 2- Risabhanatha Image in Nilakanthesvara Temple at Adaspur: The east facing Nilakanthesvara temple having a three-tier pidha vimana fronted by a RCC, jagamohana is located just behind the High School of Adaspur village (long-
12’58” N.; elev. 62) Another Jaina Tirthankara image is kept inside the temple chiseled out of a single black chlorite stone. measures 44 x 26 x 8 cm in height, width and depth respectively is severely eroded below the waist along with the palms of the deity up to the base of the pedestal.
The image is depicted in kayatasarga pose having elongated cur-lobes, and conical curly hair with a makara orana arch on the back, an egg-shaped pravabali with lotus motif framed behind his head and finally surmounted by a Kisahhanatha Image in Nilakanthesvara Gramesvara Temple.
8601’06 bevala tree. Eight divinities probably astagrahas, seated in voganana pose over a viwapadma, four on each side of the Tirthankara and on the top, the divine musicians playing with musical instrument-vina (?). A male attendant in trihhanga pose, bedecked with a juta mukuta, elongated car-lobes, wearing a folded garment visible on the waist with hanging beaded knot in the middle, left hand hanging up to the knee and the right hand holds a chauri over the shoulder is depicted on the left side of the main deity.
Though the Lanchhana is missing but the similarity of the image with the Risabhanatha of the Svapnesvara temple no-2 suggests contemporary date of 7 century AD and the Tirthankara may be identified with Risabhanatha 3-Risabhanatha Image
3. Risabhanatha Image in Gramewar at Nivarana: The Temple at Nivarana (long-86 0917 B., lat.-20 0247 N., elevation-22 ft) in the village Nivarana is situated under the Niali tehsil of Cuttack district and located on the left bank of the river Prachi. It can be approached at a distance of 3 km from Nuahata chowk on the Niali-Madhava Road (N.H-60) The temple faces to cast measures 16.78 x 5.02 x 6.78 m in dimension, consists of a square vimana, a jagamohana and a rectangular mandapa in front that stands on a low brick platform.
The finest specimen of a Jaina sculpture ever noticed in the Prachi valley is one which is kept in the jagamohana of Gramesvara temple. The Tirthankara image of Risabhanatha (98 x 50 x 28 cm) is presently worshipped as Kamadeva Vishnu by the local people. The mage, small than life size is beautifully chiseled out in a single piece of black chlorite stone.
The image is depicted in sitting posture in yogasana over a viswapadma, ornamented with jatamukiua, out of which a few locks fall on the shoulders, a basic feature of Risabhanatha image of Odishan art, elongated car-lobes, half- closed eyes pomting on the tip of the nose in meditation attitude, behind the head the decorated tri-foil makuru toruna crowned by three-tier chhatrahali and Aevala tree on the top.
Flying Fidyadhars with garland flanked the image and on the top comer the celestial musicians, one playing cymbal (zara) on the left and the other with drum (mridanga) on the right of the deity, Below the virapadma, the slab is carved out with three small niches separated by pilaster design, out of which the middle one houses the lunchhana bull, faces to its left and the comers with back-looking lion.
On the bottom part six miniature female devotees in anjali mudra, three on cach side is carved out. The Tirthankara image is flanked by Bharat and Bahubali, bejeweled with jattumukuta, necklace and holding a chauri over their shoulder. The right hand attendant stands in- the pratvalidha pose while the left one is not clearly visible.
4- Risabhanatha Image in Solapuamaa Thakurani Shed at Anlo: An image of Risabhanatha (52 x 28 x 11 cm in dimension) made out of a black chlorite stone is presently being worshipped as one of the son of goddess Durga at Anlo in the Solapuaman thakurant shed.
The mude image stands in Arvotasarga posture, over a double petal lotus pedestal. adorned with a jatamukuta out of which a few locks of hair falls on the shoulders and in the back the decorated circular pravahali surmounted the eroded chhatraball and the kevala tree.
The eight grahas, arranged in a vertical row, four on each side, seated in pogamudra over a double-petal lotus pedestal, holding an indeterminate object and the graka Rahu, represented as a body less human head with protruding eyes and grinning teeth is placed on the left bottom of the main deity.
The image is quite akin to the Nilakanthesvar temple Jain image in respect to the representation of the grithas Above the ustugrahas, a pair of celestial musicians, one on each side playing with vina is clearly visible but at the top corners the torso are badly wom out. The two attendants mun stand over at separate small lotias pedestal holding a chaert in their right hand over the head and flanked the Tirthankara Below the lotus pedestal of the deity, the cognizance a scaled bull faces to its left is flanked by a devotee in ukutika posture with all muhu on the right and a divinity seated in pojasan mada over a double- petal lotus pedestal on the left.
Risabhanatha Image in Viswamitra Ashrama Kakatapur: A Risabhanatha Image in Solapuama
Thakurasi Shed at Anle miniature image of Risabhanatha carved out in black chlorite stone was earlier reported in Viswamitra Ashrama near Kakatapur under Puri district is presently lost.
Risabhanatha Image at Bhradwaja Asrama, Kakatapur: Asmall mutilated Risabhanatha image similar to the image of Viswamitra Ashrama is also noticed in the premises of Bhradwaja Asrama near Kakatapur” is also presently missing.
Risabhanatha Image in Durga Shrine at Itapokharigarh. The Itapokharigarh lies on the right bank of the river Prachi in the village of the same name under Balipatna block of Khurda district is at a distance of about 5 km from Niali on State Highway-60, The fort was built in second half of the 18 century during the Maratha period in Odisha.
Till now the Gadasimanta Srichandana family is residing in this fort area and traditionally performed the duties of religious festival in the fort. Now the fort is in dilapidated condition.
One sandstone image of Risabhanatha was found while digging the Kundel canel near Itapokharigarh. It is now kept inside the Durga shrine of this village. The Tirthankara image is seated in vafraprayankusana over a viwapadma within the womb of a chaitya design. The lanchhana bull is depicted below the pedestal.
8- Risabhanatha Images from Kandalapur near Kakatapur: Apart from a number of stone images of Jaina Tirthankaras, both sitting and standing, a hoard of metal images in bronze also have yielded at Kandalapur near Kakatapur of Puri district. Among the metal images that of Odisha State Museum, Bhubaneswar. The image of Riabhanatha is carved standing in kayotasarga pose over a vzywapadma, which is supported by a four tiny legs.
On the front face of the square pedestal the lanchhana bull is carved along with a kneeling devotee in anjalimudra Tricali, a mahapurthalakshand is prominent on the neck. The hair is arranged in matted locks, thus wearing an ajasabhara type of head dress a few of which, as usual, falls on the shoulders.
Incidentally, this image bears an inscription which records that the image was a gift of one Srikara- Image of Risabhanatha in Rishi Thakurani Shrine at Mahatabpari: Broken piece of a sculpture affinity to Jaina.
Risabhanatha Image is Rishi Thakurani Shrine ac Mahutalipari religion along with Yaksha Gomedha and two unidentified deities are presently worshipped as Rishi thukurani in a modern north facing small shrine of 150 m in height under a Kendu tree in the village Malatabpari.
Interestingly the deities are worshipped not by a Brahmin priest but by a Barika (barber). The village comes under the Binishpur panchyata of Niali block in Cuttack district and located on the left bank of the river Prachi. It can be approached by road of about 3 km on the way to Naugaon from Nuahata chowk on Charichhaka- Kakatapur road.
The broken image slab only exist of its lower part of a pedestal, made of sandstone where Risabhanatha is seated in dhyanamudra over a vinapadma and the lanchhana bull, faces to its left is depicted on the right and a female devotee with folded hands on the left flanking the short steam of the viswapadma in the centre.
Features of the Jaina Relics in Prachi Valley: After discussing the above specimens of the Jaina Tinhankara Risabhanatha images recovered from the Prachi valley, there is no second thought that the Prachi valley is regarded as an important Jaina centre of early medieval Odisha.
Following features is noted in the study area 1-So far as iconography is concerned in the Prachi valley, both standing and sitting examples of the Tirthankara Risabhanatha images are found.
The Jaina Tirthankara Risabhanatha images are shown i nude, elongated ear-lobes, hair arranged in jata style, young, beautiful, calm with serene expression and long hanging arms in case of standing figure and in seated examples the right palon rests upon the left As the Jaina believes in penance tapasya) they modeled the Jaina images in the meditative pose.
But the absence of the characteristic srivatsa mark on the centre of the chest of the Tirthankara images is one of the distinctive features of the region. In this connection it may be mentioned out that in the contemporary Jina images of south India this particular symbol is also conspicuous by its absence 3-Apart from these, the region exhibits the traits of the early medieval art and iconography”
Firstly, the figures are carved along with their respective lanchhana and churi-bearers. Secondly, the tri-linear umbrella (chhatravali), halo (pravamandala), drum (mridanga) and cymbal (zurjara) players on the top comer, flying Fidyadharas/Vidyadharinis with garland flanking the tri-linear umbrella and devotees either in one side or on both sides of the centrally carved cognizance (lanchhuna) in the front face beneath the pedestal.
Thirdly, the main figure is surrounded by demi-gods in miniature form. This crowding of the stele suggests that gradually the focus was diverted from the main figure of the composition, which was not a practice during the earlier period. As a whole, partly this shows the continuation of the Gupta art tradition and partly the characteristic traits of the early medieval art tradition.
While carving the image of Risabhanatha the Jaina followers tried to emphasis on the antiquity of their religion and in the case of Svanesvara temple at Adspur the first Jina- Risabhanatha as mulanayaka gets top preference and he was surrounded by other Jinas in miniature forms, thereby the latter holding less dignified position in the theme.
Regarding material of construction both stone (sandstone, chlorite) and metal (bronze) makes its presence in the study area. The images in stone are simply carved out of a single piece of stone slab.
The Juina images so far recovered in the Prachi valley were datable to the early medieval period covering between the 7° to 13 centuries AD. The earliest time frame suggested by P. K. Kay to the 7 century AD is more probable as we find the depiction of astagrahas in the Risabhanatha image of Nilaknthesvara temple at Adaspur and the image of Risabhanatha in the Solapuamaa thakuruni shed at Anlo because the concept of astagrahs was prevalent in the Odishan temple art since 6 century AD.
The concept of savagrahas was introduced in Odishan temple art during the middle of the 9 century AD and first noticed at Muktesvara temple. The latest time frame of Risabhanatha images of the Prachi valley can be safely dated to the 13 century AD. The Sobhanesvara temple at Niall are dated contemporary to Meghesvara temple of Bhubaneswar which correspond to the last quarter of 13° century AD and the Rishabhanath image found at Nibaran also iconographically dated to Ganga era.
Like other parts of India, in Prachi valley also in many places Risabhanatha images are worshipped as Brahmanical deities like Kamadeva Visnu in the Gratesvara temple of Nivarana, Rishi thakurani in the village Mahatabpart and son of Durga in the Anlo thakurani shed.
During the early medieval period, baring a few evidences of royal patronage to the cause of Jainism nothing more substantial is known. In such a scenario the findings of a large number of Jaina sculptures particularly of Risabhanatha suggest the provenance of Jaanism to a great extent.
It becomes more fascinating when one finds that the revival of Brahmanism from the Gupta period onwards was always considered as a threat to the existence of Jainism and Buddhism. As it has rightly been pointed out. Jainism of this area was not in the state of decay when Saktism predominated the region during the 9 century AD and the goddess Mangala was worshipped as the pithadevi of the valley from that time”
1- Agnihotri, V. K. (ed.), 2000, Indian History, Sixteenth Edition, Allied Publishers Limited, p. A-100.
2- Pradhan, P.K. (ed.), 2006, Editorial-Marketing Prachi Valley in Globalised Tourism Industry, “Incredible Prachi Valley Its Monuments & Tourism Possibilities”, Proceedings of the UGC sponsored National Conference. Department of History, UN. College of Science and Technology, Adaspur Cuttack Odisha, p.3
3- Mishra, A. K., 2006, Prachi Valley Civilization: Revisited, in P.K. Pradhan (ed.), ibid, p.49
4- Saboo, A. C., 2006, Jaina Sculptural Art in the Prachi Valley: A Study, in PK. Pradhan (ed.), tbed, p.74
5- Behera, K.S. & U. N. Dual (ed.), 1992. The Prachi Mahanya, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, pl
6- Sahoo, A.R, 2010, Proceedings of the Orissa History Congress. XXXI Annual Session, p.29
7-Ray, PK. (ed), 1975, Archaeological Survey Report 1974-75 Prachi Valley, Odisha State Archaeology, Bhubaneswar, p.53
8-Mohapatra, R.P., 1984, Jaina Monuments of Odisha, New Delhi, pp.94.95
9-Mohapatra, R.P., 1986, Archaeological Remains in Odisha,
10-Sahoo, A.R., 2010, op cit.p.30
11-Ray, P.K. (ed.), op.cit, p.54
13- Tripathy, S. S., 1988, Buddhism and other religious cults of South-East Inilia, Delhi, p. 134
14-Sahoo, A.R.op cit p.35
15-Sahoo, A. C., 2006, op.cit, p. 78
16-Tripathy, S, Sop.cit,p/138
17-Sahoo, A.C., 2006, op. cit, pp. 78-79
19-Ray, P.K. (ed. 1.op.cit. p. 53
20- Parida, A. N., 1999, Early Temples of Orissa, New Delhi, 50
21-Behera, K.S., Temples of Orissa, Bhubaneswar, pp.66-63 22- Jast, P. 1989, Some Aspects of Jainism in Eastern India, Delhi p.90 Research Scholar, Department of AIHCA. Utkal University, Vanivihar, Bhubaneswar