Ashis Ranjan Sahoo
Jainism is a splendid living tradition with a well defined world view, metaphysics, code of ethics and base on non violence, truth and righteous conduct. In Orissa Jainism flourished along with Buddhism and Hinduism from its early days till at least the medieval period as attested by literary and archaeological sources.
Archaeological evidence leaves no doubt that Jainism flourished in Orissa during the reign of emperor Kharavela in 1-century B.C and inspired the Kalingan sculptor to create rare works of art. Therefore the sculptural heritage of the religion is found in different parts of Orissa, among which undivided Cuttack district. is a pioneer region having many Jaina remains.
Choodwar, on the left side of NH-5, situated on the left bank of the river Birupa in Cuttack district, is an important Jaina center of Orissa. It is about 2 kms, from the Manguli Chowk on N.H-5. It was one of the five great forts(Panchakatakas) buit by Chodagangadeva and according to the tradition was the earliest capital of the Gangas in Orissa from which Anangabhimadeva-III transferred it to the place known as Barabati.
This place also served as the capital city of Somavansis. It is noteworthy to mention that the Somavamsis were not only the patrons of Saivism but they also showed their Tolerance to other religion. This is evidenced from the sculptural remains found through out the state and the caves commissioned by the Somavamsi Kings at Khandagiri and Udayagiri Hillocks. Though Choudwar was the capital city of the Somavamsis, it also reveals some Jaina sculptural Siva Temple, Servant of remains in the locality.
Along India Society with a number of Buddhist and Brahmanical sculptures and monuments. Jaina antiquarian remains are found either lying under tree or being worshipped as Hindu deities.
Three Jain tirthankara images are noticed in a Siva temple which is located within the premises of Servants of India Society in ward No. 4 of Choudwar Municipality area.
The temple is recently built but the deities inside the sanctum of the temple are of much earlier date It preserves two Rishabanath images which are worshipped as Lord Siva. Both the inges are coloured with oil paint as like lord Siva and the larger sculpture’s (worshipped as the presiding deity) genetic organ is chopped of and a snakehood is added on his head.
This is an image of Rishabanath- the first Jaina Tirthankar in kayotsvarga posture and measures 0.65 mtr in height and 0.37mtr in the image shows his lanchana bull and his Sasanadevi four armed Chakresvari. In the upper right hand the Sasanadevi holds a wheel, while in upper left hand has a conch. The lower right hand in Baradamudra and the lower left hand is not clearly visible. Devotees are sitting in front of a consecrated book kept in a tripod is also depicted at the base.
The pedestal of Rishabhanath, Servant of India Society In close to the main image another small but stunning Rishabanath image is attached to the rear wall of the shrine. The image measures 0.17 mtr. in height and 0.08 mtr. in width.
The stone slab depicted twenty three Tirthankara around the Mulanayak image of Rishabanath. The image stands on a lotus pedestal on which al small bull figurine is carved. The image is flanked by two Chauri bearers at the bottom of India Society and flying Vidyadharas with garlands and invisible hands playing with cymbals at the top.
His hair which fall on the shoulders. Another headless Tirthankara image is kept in the outer niches of the shrine. A head of a Bramhinical deity having karanda mukuta is placed over the head less Tirthankara image.
A bust portion of a Tirthankara image is noticed in front of the house of Surat Chandra Behera, a resident of ward No. 4 of Choudwar. The upper half portion of the image is only in existence while the lower part is missing now.
He has curly hair, elongated ear and attention- grabbing engraved elliptical prabhamandala at the back. A trilinear umbrella surmounted by branches of a Kevala tree, are also seen above the head of Tirthankara. The fragmented image surrounded by seated Tirthankara images (existing three in number), flying Vidyadharas and cymbals played by indiscernible hands.
In Sahara Sahi, just opposite to the Municipal High School in ward No. 4, a Tirthankara image is worshipped as Gramadevati Kalika. The image is identified as a Parsvanath image standing in kayotsvarga posture. Its upper half of the body is missing but the coil of snake at the back side of his body is clearly seen.
A bust portion of an Ambika image in mutilated condition is also noticed here. It is very difficult to identify it as oil and vermillion is regularly applied by the villagers. A stone slab containing three Tirthankara images in Kayotsvarga posture are attached to a Brundabati (Tulasi Chaunra), worhipped as Mangala deity, is noticed in front of the house of Kasinatha Mallick, a resident of Bramhanasahi, ward No. 5 of Choudwar. The images are unfinished and not bear any lanchana.
In Matha Sahi particularly in a Matha, a large number of images of Buddhist, Hindu and Jaina are worshipped as Bramhinical deities, Sudama Nayak, a the sculptures were collected from near by site by late Zamindar Krishnachandra Mangaraj. Among these sculptures three are of Jaina sect and identified as image of Rishabanath and two Ambika images. All the images are coloured with oil paint except the Ambika image, made of bronze.
The image of Rishabanath stands on kayotsvarga pose on lotus pedestal, bellow which his lanchana bull is depicted. He is flanked by two Chauri bearers at the bottom and astagrahas on the top. Thus the image can be safely dated to the 9-century A.D.
The image of Ambika with Yaksha Gomedha is depicted in a single stone slab. They are seated under a tree with a common lotus pedestal in Ardhaprayanka asana having a bunch of comm in their respective right hands and left hand kept over the thigh touching the lotus.
Both of them are decked with rich costumes and ornaments. As like the Ambika image, seven numbers of male devotees are depicted on the pedestal. A child is seen enjoying swing in a tree, which is depicted an image of Rishabanath is carved in Yogasana posture with his usual lanchana bull and Chauri bearer, garland holder, drums and cymbals played with heavenly hands at the top.
The image is similar with the image of Ambika preserved in Ayodhya museum, Balasore in respect to art and iconography.
An enchanting bronze image of Ambika was also found under worship. It is a very small figure measuring about 0.10 mtrs The Sasanadevi Ambika stands on a lotus pedestal over a four legged high pedestal. A lion figure is also exhibited on the pedestal. which is her lanchana. She holds a bunch of mangoes in her left hand along with a lap and in right hand she holds the left hand of another child standing on right side to her. The elliptical aura starts from the base of the pedestal up to the head of the image over which a Tirthankara image is found in Dhyanamudra.
Bronze Image of Ambika, Matha Sahi child in the left An exquisitely carved Rishabanath image is found in the premises of Kapalesvara temple, half a kilometre away from Choudwar Municipality High school. The image is worshipped as Baba Akhandala Mani, in a recently built pidha temple.
The Tirthankara image stands in kayotsvarga posture over a lotus pedestal, which is supported by two rampart lion facing towards opposite direction. In between the rampart lions, kneeling devotees are also seen in folded hands. The Tirthankara image is flanked by two Chauri bearers standing in tribhanga posture.
The upper half portion of the image is represented with astagrahas and surmounted by flying garland bearer and cymbals played with invisible hands. The Tirthankara has jatamukuta and few strands of his hair falls upon his shoulder. A well decorated trefoil halo is noticed behind the image and surmounted by the umbrella and the Kevala tree.
A similar image having all these features except two things Le. rampart lion is not depicted and hair strands are not fall upon the shoulder, is found in the village Nuagaon. The lower portion of the image is partially broken which seems to be depicted the lanchana. The image is now worshipped as Nabhagraha image and kept in side the Bhagavata Tungi, in the middle of the village.
Bharandi, is located half a kilometre away from Nuagaon where we notice a fragmented Parsvanath image kept under a pipal tree near a Matha. The image is broken into two pieces. Another such broken Parsvanath image is also noticed in the Maninagesvara temple complex. The image is kept under a banyan tree.
A head portion of a Tirthankara Image Nuagaon Parsvanath Image. Bharandi Tirthankara image is also noticed at Ambilijhari, in Dalijoda reserve forest of Mangarajpur Gramapanchayat Three Jaina
Parsvanath Maninageswar Temple.
Tirthankara images. represented in a single stone slab are worshipped as Trinatha in the Radhahhallva temple at the TPM Chowk in Choudwar. The pedestal of the image is in obliterated condition, so their lanchana could not be ascertained. But on the basis of hair style, the central image can be identified as Rishaba-natha.
Bira Kishore Mohapatra, the priest is now looked after the temple. The image measures 0.19 mtrs x 0.15 mtrs x 0.06 mtrs in length, width and depth respectively Number of images of different faith such as Brahmanical, Buddhist and Jaina are recovered from a stepped well while cleaning operation was carried out by the Sevayatas of Chatesvara temple Among the hoard of sculptures, an image of Ambika with Yaksha Gomedha in a single stone dab is also noticed.
The image Ambika, Chatswar Temple is partially defaced at the top but have female attendants the base. The image measures 0.15 mar x 0.08 mtrs x 0.035 mtrs in length, width and depth respectively. This image is quite akin to the image of Ambika preserve in Baripada Museum in respect to size, art and iconography.
An image of Ambika with Yaksha Gomedha is also noticed at the sanctum of the Gandharavanatha temple at Chitresvara in Choudwar. Iconographically it resembles with the Ambika image of the Matha Sahi. The image res 0.30 mtrs x 0.16 mtrs x 0.06 mtrs in length. width and depth respectively.
There are eighteen Jain sculptures are found in and around the Chondwar urea and among them five are of Risabanatha, five are of Ambika, three are Parsvanatha, me votive temple and four defaced images. On the basis of iconographical features and raw materials, the sculptures are dated to the Somavamsis periodic. 9-11- century AD. A few other Jaina sculptural remains may come to notice if extensive exploration work is undertaken.