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Bhubaneswar MP and BJP leader Aparajita Sarangi has sought the inclusion of the historical Khandagiri and Udayagiri hills of Odisha in the UNESCO world heritage list.
Sarangi has written a letter to Union Minister of Tourism and Culture G Kishan Reddy in this regard.
“This is to bring to your kind knowledge that the twin hills of Udayagiri and Khandagiri within the Capital City of Bhubaneswar, Odisha, is a Centrally Protected Monument under Archeological Survey of India. These two hills are affiliated exclusively to Jaina pantheon and fulfill the criteria required for their incorporation in the UNESCO World Heritage list,” the letter read.
“This site is widely known for rock cut caves dedicated to Jainism. Besides, the site is famous for the famous Brahmi inscriptions of 17 lines in Prakrit language pertaining to the period of King Kharavela of Mahameghavahana Chedi dynasty dated 1st century BC. This site also has prehistoric remains belonging to Mesolithic period as attested by the remains of microliths and prehistoric rock art in the form of rock engravings and paintings of anteler, human forms, foot mark, serpentine etc,” the letter further read.
As per the request by Sarangi, the inclusion of Khandagiri and Udayagiri hills in UNESCO world heritage list will result in better preservation and development.
“The architectural design of double storeyed rock-cut caves, the sculptural embellishments, decorative features, scheme of work dates back to 1st century BC and are unparalleled in the contemporary world. The facade of the cells in the caves are carved with sculptural friezes like women rescuing scene from wild elephant, deer, hunting scene, female dancing scene, couple offering flowers, ganas / yakashyas and yakashis, royal, procession, and the unique guard / door keeper of Greeco-Roman style etc. The entrance arches have engravings of flowers, honey-suckle, lotus and creepers of various designs,” the letter stated.
“Various symbols are found arrayed in the caves, which are associated with Jaina symbols like srivatsa, nandipada, snake and lotus. Under the circumstances, the twin hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri located in the Capital City of Bhubaneswar in Odisha qualify to be included in the World Heritage sites list. This request may please be positively considered,” the letter further added.