The history of Kalinga after the Maurya rule is obscure and it is not known exactly when this country regained its independence. A flood of light is focused upon this dark period of Odishan history with the discovery of Hatigumpha inscription at Udayagiri in Bhubaneswar. The facts described in this inscription undoubtedly proves that its author Kharavela, the mighty monarch was a remarkable figure in the contemporary India. His mighty sword blasted the vanity of Kalinga’s age-old enemy Magadha and subjugated a vast area under Kalingan suzerainty. Under his reign Kalinga reached the pinnacle of glory. The facts narrated in the Hatigumpha inscription has been amply corroborated by the excavation at Sisupalgarh near Bhubaneswar and through some figures engraved in different caves at Udyagiri. The Hatigumpha inscription at Udaygiri hill near Bhubaneswar describes in details about the career and achievement of Kharavela, the mighty ruler of Mahameghvahana family.
The Hatigumpha inscription mentions that Kharavela belonged to the Mahameghavahana family of the Chedi clan. The Chedis were originally ruling in Madhyadesa or Magadha and it has been suggested that a branch of this royal family of the hoary ambiguity, came to Kalinga and established its sway over it. We do not know when they migrated to Kalinga, but from the Hatigumpha inscription it becomes apparent that Kharavela was the third member of the Kalingan Chedis.
1. Career and Achievements of Kharavela
2. The Date of Kharavela
1. Date Line of Kharavela the Great by Dr. Gouri Shankar Tripathy
2. Kharavela : The Great Philanthropic Emperor by Jayanti Rath
Kharavela is introduced as ‘Airena Maharajena, Mahameghavahanena and Chetarajavasavadhanena’. Each part of the expression has admitted of controversies. Barua reads ‘Aira’ as ‘Veera’ meaning hero but explains it as a royal title’ Ayira’ meaning Svami i.e., master or lord. Mahameghavahana is considered to be the grandfather of Kharavela, the founder of the dynasty in Kalinga which came to be known as Mahameghavahana after his name. Like the Satavahanas of the South, Mahameghavahana dynasty was established in Kalinga. The Manchpuri cave inscription describes Kharavela’s son as ‘Maharaja-Kalingadhipati- Mahameghavahana- Kudepasiri’. Another inscription at Guntupalli in West Godavari district of A.P. (cir. 1st century B.C.) in the same Brahmi script and Prakrit language refers to “Mahameghavahana-Kalinga- Mahisakadhipati-Siri-Sada”. “Cetarajavasavadhanena” has been interpreted as one who increases the glory of the Cedi dynasty. The latest view in the regard is that Chetaraja was the father of Kharavela. Kharavela, the son of Cetaraja, was the third ruler Mahameghavahana dynasty also known as Kalingarajavamsa. The Hathigumpha inscription precisely records his career and achievements up to thirteen years of his reign.
Kharavela was undoubtedly a great conqueror and empire builder in the early phase of the Indian history. He can be compared with Mahapadmananda, Chandragupta Maurya, Asoka and Samudragupta in this respect. He was a great military genius. He possessed a vast army, composed of impressive elephant force, cavalry, infantry and chariots. His political sway extended in the north as far as Mathura and, in the south, as far as the Pandya kingdom. Conquests, however, impressive are ephemeral. Kharavela’s greatness in history rests on safer and much more abiding grounds than mere conquests. Kharavela is remembered as a ‘protagonist and a patron of Jainism.