During the very first year of his rule,
Kharavela took up the work of rebuilding the fort. It was his firm belief that the capital
should first be strong, Prosperous, beautiful and attractive achieved this object within a
few months of hisbecoming king. The task that was before him was stupendous. He had to
rebuild the city where most of the houses had collapsed; he had to see that the tanks and
wells were repaired; he had to bring back loveliness to the parks and gardens that had
All these were difficult tasks. They also cost much money. There were not one or two
but ever so many things to be done because the state had suffered for years. It had to
recover from the terrible suffering caused by the enemies and by Nature.
Huge sums of money were spent on this reconstruction. The fort became strong again. The
tanks and lakes were full. Green grass and colorful flowers and trees and fruits of many
kinds made the parks bright and attractive once again.
All these improvements cost much money. But Kharavela did not collect a single pie for
them from his subjects. It would not have been wrong if he had imposed taxes on them. Nor
would they have grudged paying the taxes. Yet he paid for all these works from his
treasury, without imposing any taxes.
What a joy and surprise to the people! Within a year of his coming to the throne,
Kharavela had captured the hearts of his people.
In the second year of his rule he desired to extend his power and show his might beyond
the borders of his kingdom. There was, towards the west of Kalinga, a king named
He had earned a name as a very great warrior. Already his kingdom had extended upto the
eastern borders of Kalinga. How much had Kalinga suffered from one powerful neighbor,
How could Kharavela forget it? So he decided to impress on others the might of Kalinga.
He marched against Shathakarni. The army reached the banks of the river Krishnaveni
(Vynaganga). Kharavela attacked Rishikanagar, a city situated where the river Krishna
joins the river Moosi, and captured it. This attack brought Kharavela not only much fame
but also sufficient wealth.
Returning home, Kharavela celebrated this victory in a grand way. The people of Kalinga
were overjoyed at this victory. Wrestling contests, dance, music and drama delighted the
The celebrations went on for a year. All these years they had tasted only unhappiness.
They had become meek and timid; they had lost confidence in themselves. They always feared
defeat and their heads were bowed in shame. In short, they appeared lifeless. Now their
courage had revived. "We are in no way inferior to others; we have defeated the
famous warrior Shathakarni" - so they thought. They were proud of their valor and
this pride was quite justified, for Shathakarni was no ordinary king. He had earned
a name as a great hero. He had performed the great Rajasuya and Ashwamedha sacrifices.
These had spread his fame far and wide. Kalinga had subdued to such a warrior. So now the
people could hold their heads high and live in self-respect. Many of them willingly came
forward to join the army. They considered it their good fortune to be soldiers in
Kharavela's army and to fight for him.