Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 10:
An underground tunnel, found in the Khandagiri area of Odisha’s capital city on Friday, is believed to have been built around 1st Century BC.
According to reports, the tunnel was found during the construction work for the proposed Kharavela Enclave by the Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB) behind the Jagannath temple at Jagamara in the city.
An excavator, while digging up the area for construction of the enclave, found the tunnel about 12 feet below the ground level, reports said.
The tunnel, with its outer portions built with Rangadalima, Baulamala and Khadiakanda stones, though looks like a cave, has a pathway inside. However, the direction of the tunnel is difficult to locate at present due to the darkness.
The basement of the tunnel, built with Baulamala stone, has swampy areas inside.
According to Dr Amiya Patnaik, eminent historian and former vice chancellor of Utkal University of Culture, the tunnel could be a part of Khandagiri and Udayagiri as the area was once a fort.
He also said that the tunnel, possibly used by the kings’ army for self-protection, might have stretched up to Dhauli hills on the outskirts of the city.
“A detailed study on the tunnel will throw more lights”, he added.
As pointed out by Narayan Patra, member of the Khandagiri Anchalika Vikash Parishad, Khandagiri and Udayagiri were the centre of meditation for the saints during the reign of King Kharavela of Chedi dynasty, who was staying at Sishupalgarh area during 1st Century BC.
As the area was a centre for cultural events, the king used to visit the place with his two queens frequently, he pointed out.
“Since the entire area is covered with hills, the tunnel could be one of the caves like Khandagiri and Udayagiri”, Patra said, adding that the details of the tunnel could be known after the archaeologists carry out research on it.