Kharavela is one of those mighty and intriguing persons in Indian history about him we know literally nothing. What is known is that he is a powerful ruler who defied both the Mauryans and the Satavahanas. Ironically, most of what we know is from the inscription below, located in Udayagiri caves near Cuttack.
Line 1-2 – Salutation to Arhats, salutation to all Siddhas. Ārya Mahāmeghavāhana Mahārājā Śrī Khāravela, the overlord of Kalinga, who heightens the glory of the dynasty of Cetaraja , who possesses many auspicious sign, and is gifted with qualities spreading over four quarters, and who has handsome brown complexion, played the childhood games for fifteen years.
Line 2-3 – Thereafter, being proficient in writing, coinage, arithmetic, law and procedure and skilled in all arts, he ruled as the crown prince for nine years. After completion his twenty-fourth year and with the ripening of the age of minority, (he) as glorious as Vainya was crowned king in the third generation of the royal dynasty of Kalinga.
Line 3-4 – In the very first year of his coronation ( His Majesty) caused to be repaired the gate, rampart and structures of the fort of Kalinga Nagari, which had been damaged by storm, and caused to be built flight of steps for the cool tanks and laid all gardens at the cost of thirty five hundred thousand (coins) and thus pleased all his subjects.
Line 4-5 – In the second year, without caring for Sātakarnī [His Majesty] sent to the west a large army consisting of horse, elephant, infantry and chariot, and struck terror to Asikanagara with that troop that marched upto the river Kanhavemnā. Thereafter, in the third year, well versed in the Gāndharva Veda, (His Majesty) made Kalinga Nagri play, as it were by arranging festivals and convivial gatherings, and organising performances of acrobatics, dance, as well as vocal and instrumental music.
Line 5-6 – Then in the fourth year, [His Majesty] …. the Vidyadhara tract, that had been established by the former kings of Kalinga and had never been crossed before. The Rathika and Bhojaka chiefs with their crown cast off, their umbrella and royal insignia thrown aside, and their Jewellery and wealth confiscated, were, made to pay obeisance at the feet [ of His Majesty].
Line 6-7 – And in the fifth year, [His Majesty] caused the aqueducts that had been excavated by king Nanda three hundred years before , to flow into Kalinga Nagri through Tanasuli.Further, in the sixth year of his coronation (his Majesty) in order to display the regal wealth, remitted all taxes, cesses and benevolences for the urban and rural population, to the extent of many hundred thousands (of coins).
Line 7-8 – And in the seventh year of his reign [the Queen] of Vajiraghara, blessed with a son attained motherhood. Then in the eighth year, having destroyed the strong (fort) of Gorathagiri, with a mighty army [ His Majesty] oppressed Rājagrha.
Line 8-9 – Getting the tidings of all these achievements, the Yavanaraja who retreated to Mathura for the rescue of his army encamped there. The sage Kharavela, with the Kalpa tree burdened with foliage and with the horses, elephants and chariots……… distributed (gifts) to all houses and inns and with a view to making gifts universal gave away the spoils of victory to the Brahmanas.
Line 9-10 – And in the ninth year [His Majesty] caused to be built [in Kalinga Nagari] the Great Victory palace the royal residence at the cost of thirty eight hundred thousand (coins). Then in the tenth year, [His Majesty] the embodiment of politics, diplomacy and peace, caused [ the army] to march through Bharatavarsa5 for conquest.
Line 10-11 – And in the eleventh year [His majesty] secured jewels and precious stones from the retreating [enemies] [His Majesty] caused to be cultivated pithunda, founded by former kings of Kalinga, with ploughs drawn by asses. Also [His Majesty] shattered the territorial confederacy of the Tamira states having populous villages, that was existing since thirteen hundred years.
Line 11-12 – And in the twelfth year, [ His Majesty] terrorised the king of Uttarapatha by an army of hundred thousand, after that [His Majesty] generated great fear among the people of Magadha while making the elephants and horses drink in the Ganges, [ His Majesty] made Bahasatimita, the King of Magadha, obeisance at his feet. [His Majesty] then brought back the image of Kalinga Jina with its thrown and endowment that had been taken away by king Nanda and the jewels plundered by him (King Nanda) from the Kalinga royal palace, along with the treasures of Anga and Magadha.
Line 13 – [His Majesty] caused to erect towers with strong and beautiful gateways at the cost of two thousand coins. [His Majesty] obtained horses, elephants and jewels losing strange and wonderful elephants and ships. The King of Pandya caused to be brought here ( capital Kalinga Nagri) various pearls, jewels and precious stones hundred thousand in number.
Line 14 – [His Majesty] brought to submission the people of … And in the thirteenth year upasaka Sri Kharavela a devoted worshipper of those, who used to cloth themselves in fine cloth, enjoy royal endowment and take to rainy season, retreat, excavated in the Kumari hill, where the wheel of victory had been well turned, dwelling cells for resting of the bodies of the …. Arhats who had renounced their sustenance.
Line 15-16 – [As desired by] the Queen of Simhapatha, [His Majesty] built an edifice in front of and close to the dwellings of the Arhats with thirty five hundred thousand stone slabs, raised from the best quarries and brought form a distance of many yojanas for the convenience of the honoured Sramanas and for the yatis, Tapasa, Rsis and Samghiyanas, who hailed from all directions and also set up on the pink coloured floor, pillars bedecked with emerald at a cost of one hundred and five thousand (coins). [His Majesty] revived the Tauryatrika included in sixty four branches of art that had been suspended during the time of the Mauryas.
Line 16-17 – [ Thus reigns] the king of bliss, the King of prosperity the Bhiksu King and King of Dhamma, [ His Majesty] the mighty conqueror Rajarsi Sri Kharavela, the descendant of Vasu, the embodiment of specific qualities, the worshipper of all religious order, the repairer of all shrines of gods, he possessor of invincible armies, the upholder of law , the protector of law, and the executor of law, having seen heard and felt all that is good.
L.1 – •नमो अरहंतानं [।।] णमो सवसिधानं [।।] ऐरेण महाराजेन महामेघवाहनेन चेतराज वस वधनेन पसथ सुभलखलेन चतुरंतलुठन गुणउपेनेत कलिंगाधिपतिना सिरि खारवेलेन
L.2 – पंदरस वसानि सिरि कड़ार सरीरवता कीड़िता कुमार कीड़िका [।।] ततो लेख रूप गणना ववहार विधि विसारदेन सवविजावदातेन नव वसानि योवराजं पसासितं [।।] संपुणं चतुविसति वसो तदानी वधमान सेसयो वेनाभि विजयो ततिये
Line 3 – कलिंग राजवसे पुरिस युगे महाराजभिसेचनं पापुनाति [।।] अभिसित मतो च पधमेवसे वात विहत गोपुर पाकार निवेसनं पटिसंखारयति कलिंगनगरि खिवीर सितल तड़ाग पाड़ियो च वंधापयति संवुयान पटि संटपनं च
L.4 – कारयति पनतिसाहि सतसहसेहि पकतियो च रंजयति [।।] दुतिये च वसे अचितयिता सातकनिं पछिमदिसं हय गज नर रध बहुलं दंडं पठापयति [।।] कन्हवेंणां गताय च सेनाय वितासिति असिक नगरं [।।] ततिये पुन वसे
L.5 – गंधव वेद बुधो दप नत गीत वादित संदसनाहि उसव समाज कारापनाहि च कीड़ापयति नगरिं [।।] तथा चवुथे वसे विजाधराधिवासं अहत पुवं कलिंग पुवराज निवेसितं ….. वितध मकुट स …. निखित छत
L.6 – भिंगारे हित रतन सापतेये सव रठिक भोजके पादे वंदा पयति [।।]पंचमे च दानी वसे नंदराज तिवस सत ओघाटितं तनसुलिय वाटा पनाडि नगरि पवेस [य] ति … [।।] अभिसितो च [छठे] वसे राजसेयं संदंसयं तो सवकरण
L.7 – अनुगह अनेकानि सतसहसानि विसजति पोरं जानपदं [।।] सतमं च वसे पसासतो वजिरघरवति … स मतुक पद [पुनां] स [कुमार] …[।।] अठमे च वसे महति सेनाय महत गोरधगिरिं
L.8 – घाता पयिता राजगहं उपपिड़ापयति [।।] एतिनं च कंम पदान संनादेन सबत सेन वाहने विपमुचितुं मधुरं अपायातो यवनराध … म… यछति पलव भार
L.9 – कपरूखे हय गज रध सह यति सवधरावास परिवेसने … सव गहणं च कारयितुं बम्हणानं जय परिहार ददाति [।।] अरंहत [पसादाय] नवमे च वसे
L.10 – [नगरिय कलिंग] राजनिवासं महाविजय पासादं कारयति अठतिसाय सतसहसेहि [।।] दसमे च वसे दंड संधि साम [मयो] भरधवस पठानं मही जयनं … कारापयति [।।] एकादसमे च वसे [सतुनं] पायातानं च मणि रतनानि उपलभते [।।]
L.11 – कलिंग पुवराज निवेसितं पिथुडं गधवनंगलेन कासयति [।।] जनपद भावनं च तेरसवस सत कतं भिदति तमिर देह संघातं [।।] बारसमे च वसे ….. वितासयति उतरापध राजनो [ततो]
L.12 – मागधानं च विपुल भयं जनेतो हथसं गंगाय पाययति [।।] मागधं च राजान बहसतिमितं पादे वंदापयति [।।] नंदराज नीतं कालिंगजिन संनिवेसं [कलिंग] [राज] गह रतन परिहारे हि अंग मगध वसुं च नयति [।।]
L.13 – …तुं जठर लखिल गोपुरानि सिहरानि निवेसयति सत विसिकनं परिहारे हि [।।] अभुत मछरियं च हथीनाव तं परिहर [उपलभते] हय हथी रतन मानिकं [।।] पंडराजा एदानि अनेकानि मुत मनिरतनानि आहारापयति इध सतस [हसानि]
Line 14 – [दखिणापथ] वासिनो वसीकरोति [।।] तेरसमे च वसे सुपवत कुमारी पवते अरहते (हि) पखिन संसितहि कायनिसीदियाय (…) राजभितिनं चिनवतानं वासासितानं पूजानुरत उवासग (खा) रवेल सिरिना जीवदेह सायिका परिखाता [।।]
L.15 – सकत समण सुविहितानं च सवदिसानं यतिनं तपस इसिनं संघायनं अरहत निसीदिया समीपे पभारे वराकर समुथापिताहि अनेक योजनाहि ताहि पनतिसाहि सतसहसेहि सिलाहि [[ Simhapatha|सिहपथ]] रानि स [भिलासेहि]
L.16 – पटलिक चतरे च वेड्डरिय गभे थंभे पटिथापयति पानतरिय सतसहसेहि [।।] मुरियकाल वोछिनं च चोयठि अंग संतिकं तुरियं उपादयति [।।] खेमराजा स वधराजा स भिखुराजा स धमराजा पसं तो सुनं तो अनुभवंतो कलणानि
L.17 -… गुण विसेस कुसलो सव पासंड पूजको सवदेवायतन संकार कारको अपतिहत चक वाहन बलो चकधरो गुतचको पवत चको राजसि वसुकुल विनिसितो महाविजयो राजा खारवेल सिरि [।।]••