King Kharavela: Notes on King Kharavela of Kalinga !

Kalinga rose to power in the middle of the first century B.C. under the king Kharavela.

Much of the information about Kharavela’s rule and his military conquests is available from a lengthy, though some­what damaged inscription at Hathigumpha – the elephant’s cave in the Udayagiri hill in Orissa.

Kharavela was a descendent of Meghavarmana, the latter being the founder of the royal house of Cheti or Chedi. Kharavela was a Jaina but despite his fervour for Jaininism he was addicted to military conquests and conducted a number of successful campaigns in various directions.

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He claims to have defeated the king of the western Deccan, occupied Rajagriha to the north and conquered Magadha, attacked the Greeks in the north-west, and finally overrun parts of the Pandyan kingdom in the south of the penin­sula, which he then had ploughed with an ass as a mark of utter contempt for the Pandyan rulers.

Kharavela refers to irrigation canals built by the Nandas and takes a pride in his own efforts in this direction. Besides references to conquests, he lays claim to spending vast sums on the welfare of his subjects. On Kharavela’s death Kalinga relapsed into quiescence.