• The Hathigumpha Inscription (“Elephant Cave” inscription) is a seventeen-line Prakrit inscription inscribed in Brahmi script in a cave called Hathigumpha near Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
  • It was inscribed by the Jain king Kharavela of the Kalinga kingdom during the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE.
    • Kharavela was a king of Kalinga in present-day Odisha. He is believed to have ruled during the second century BCE.
    • He was the best-known king of the Mahameghavahana dynasty.
    • He is believed to have been a follower of Jainism, although the Hathigumpha inscription describes him as a devotee of all religions.
    • He was well versed in the ‘Gandharva Veda’ or the arts and sciences of music.
  • The Hathigumpha Inscription contains a biographical narrative of a ruler from ancient India’s eastern area, among other things.
  • It also contains religious ideals, public infrastructure projects, military expeditions, and their objectives, as well as socio-cultural data. 
  • Paleographically, the inscription dates from the middle of the first century BCE to the beginning of the first century CE.
  • It faces straight towards the Rock Edicts of Ashoka at Dhauli, situated at a distance of about six miles.
  • The inscription is written in a type which is considered as one of the most archaic forms of the Kalinga alphabet, also suggesting a date around 150 BCE.

a) Samudragupta
b) Kharavela
c) Chandragupta II
d) Ashoka


The correct option is b) Kharavela

Explanation: The Hathigumpha Inscription (“Elephant Cave” inscription), from Udayagiri, near Bhubaneswar in Odisha, was inscribed by Kharavela, the then Emperor of Kalinga in India, during 2nd century BCE.

a) Udaygiri Caves

b) Arikamedu

c) Kosala

d) Ujjain

Answer: A

  • The defining event of Ashoka’s rule was his campaign against Kalinga (present-day Odisha) in the eighth year of his reign.
    • This is the only recorded military expedition of the Mauryas. The number of those killed in battle, those who died subsequently, and those deported ran into tens of thousands.
    • The campaign had probably been more ferocious and brutal than usual because this was a punitive war against Kalinga, which had broken away from the Magadha Empire (the Hathigumpha inscription speaks of Kalinga as a part of the Nanda Empire).
    • Hathigumpha inscription at Udayagiri caves is the main source of information about Kalinga ruler Kharavela. This inscription, consisting of seventeen lines has been incised in deep cut Brahmi script.

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