Visit to Pratap Nagari and Bhanpur (Orissa) : A Report

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Visit to Pratap Nagari and Bhanpur (Orissa) : A Report

L. C. Jain

Marked by unique place in the annals of the sub-continent, right from antiquity, Orissa is fortunate to have a distinct history of its own. From the remote past, Orissa is known to far and wide for its rich culture and religious magnificence and it was Jainism which not only played a vital role but even to some extent assimilated with their socio-cultural and religious life of the people of Orissa. Though the exact date of origin of Jainism in Orissa is not known but on the basis of archaelogical discoveries and that of the literary sources it can be said that it was originated here much earlier than that of the Buddism. The bull figure found from many seals of Hrappan Civilization also provides evidence that it was the emblem of Rsabhanatha worshipped even on that day. It is believed that this religion known to the people of Kalinga from the days of Rsabhadeva but assumed a prominent place during the period of Parsvanatha and Mahavira. However, Jainism patronized greatly during the reigon of Kharavela (I.c. B.C. Khandagiri and Udayagiri or Kumara Parvata and Kumari Parvata. The two important centre of Jainism built during his rule. It dipicts Jaina sculpture and architecture meant for the residence of Jaina upasakas. Besides, Khandagiri and Udayagiri Tirthankara images are also found from different other places of Bhubaneshwar like Pratapnagari and Bhanpur.

A. Pratapnagari

Pratapanagari, situated near the Cuttak-Bhabaneshwar section of National Highway No. 5, has rich treasuresof Jaina heritage. In 1972 during excavation of the Kakatpur Canal few sculptures were Recovered and kept neat the village shrine during the perod from 1992-94, Sri Purushottam Rout of the village found few more stone sculptures in the paddy field of Sri Pranakrishna swain. All these sculptures were shifted to the village and kept in the village Bhagavata ghara. These constitute the main display material of the Musuem at Pratapanagari. There are many sculptures of different sizes and dimensions depicting mainly the tirthankara figures. The main image of Parsvanatha has four pedestal inscriptions recording the names of two Jaina Acaryas, namely, Sri Padmanandi and Sri Kumaranandi, and the person who installed the diety as Indraraja. The inscriptions and the sculptures are datable to circa 9th-10th Centurt A.D. The number of Risabhanatha and Parsvanatha sculptures in the collection indicate the popularity in worship of these two Jaina tirthankaras in this part during those days. Near about 17-18 kms away from Bhubaneshwar, a Jaina museum recently constructed at the vicinity of Kuakhai river. It possess a beautiful garden in front of it. Having two rooms, the museum is a beautiful one. The ineer one is comparatively smaller than the outer one. For proper ventilation there is Jalli arrangement in between these two rooms. There are three beautiful images on the left side of the outer room. Two images are given here.

1.Parsvanatha :

The 1st image is that of Parsvanatha of 10th c.A.D. The image is about 1 & 1/2 feet high. Bhagavana Parsvanatha is surrounded by Astagraha. Just above the figure of Astagraha there are beautiful female figure on both the sides. The figure standing on padmasana shows beautiful sculpture below.

2.Parsvanatha :

The 2nd figure is also that of Parsvanatha of 10th c.A.D. It is about 2 feet high, a little bit larger than the first one. Standing two guards on both the side of Parsvanatha, his feets are surrounded by snake and there was a beautiful serpant hood over his head with the surrounding areas of the upper part of the figure decorated with madhulata, there are excellent sculpture on the lower portion of the image.

3.Rsabhanatha :

Next to the two images of Parsvanatha, the 3rd one is that of Rsabhanatha wearing a beautiful mukuta on his head. Bhagavana Rsabha- natha, the 1st Tirthankara is guarded by guards, while there is a beautiful parasol over his head. The image is encircled by female figure.

4.The leftside of the 2nd room contains 3 broken sculpture. While the 1st one is also a broken figure surrounded by guards. It is of 10th c.A.D. It is believed figure may be of Rsabhanatha. Gomed and Ambika and 3rd one, but both are in a dilapidated condition. A Tirthankara figure is found over his head.

5.Parsvanatha :

An central place of the temple depicted by a large figure of Parsvanatha, It is abour 6-1/2 feet high dated 10th c.A.D. While there is beautiful serpent hood overhead, just above it is a beautiful parasol. The surrounding areas over his head are carved by excellent sculpture. Being guarded the figure is standing in padmasana. Lion figure and beautiful female sculpture is found on the lower part of it. Though not clear but an inscription is inscribed over it.

6.Rsabhanatha :

An image of Rsabhanatha encircled by 24 Tirthankaras and guards are found. He is standing in padmasana, crowned with mukuta and a parasol flying over his head. The figure is about 1.5 feet in height.

7.Rsabhadeva and Mahavira :

A single piece of stone contains the figure of Rsabhadeva, the 1st and Mahavira. the 24th Tirthankara. He is in padmasana with mukuta and parasol over his head. There are 4 guards each one on both sides, and other 2 guards are standing in between them. There are beautiful sculptures like different animal figures and latas carved below it.

8.Parsvanatha :

A figure of Parsvanatha standing in padmasana surrounded by Astagraha and guards with serpanthood over his head is found.

9.Rsabhanatha :

Rsabhanatha with 24 Tirthankaras is found, wearing a crown, a beautiful umbrella is flying over his head. Below the figure, carved with dif- ferent types of beautiful sculpture and animal figure. mainly bull, his emblem, is found.

10.Rsabhadeva :

Another figure of Rsavbhadeva with Astagraha is found. It is about 1.5 feet high and guarded. There is also a beautiful mukut and parasol over his head. He is in padmasana and his emblem lying below in it.

Thus the museum contains five figure of Rsabhadeva image, four of Parsvanatha image. Beside it there is only one figures of Mahavira is found along with Rsabhadeva. That particular piece of stone contain the 1st and last Tirthankara image which is a beautiful one.

B. Bhanpur

Bhanpur, about 2 km. away from Pratapnagari contain a beautiful Jaina Tirthankara image. 40 years before, a person named kangali Charan Bhatta, during the period of digging a canal found 5 images, but unfortunately 4 of them stolen. Therefore 20 years before the built a small temple facing to the east.

The image is identified as Parsvanatha with Dharnendra and Padmavati on both side. It is about 6 high and made out of Saptadhatu. It is enthroned on a beautiful seat. Now, the temple is maintained by Alok, son of Kangalicharan. As he is Hindu by religion, so they worshipped it as Ananta Vishnu image. The family has a belief that they prospered a lot after getting the image. They celeborated Aksaya Tratiya as the birthday of that Bhagavana.

Arhant Vachan-April-Sep.-2005