The heading in the top-right corner says: śākārājya – ‘the reign of the Śāka’.

A large figure in the centre is seated in his palace on a large lion-throne surmounted by parasols, the emblem of kingship. He is shown in full regalia, his sword in one hand and a flower in the other. On his right, facing the king, sits a Jain monk in characteristic Śvetāmbara monastic robe. His hands are folded and he is holding the cotton broomrajoharaṇa – under one of his arms.

The big figure is the king of the Śaka, known as the sāhi. The Śakas live beyond the Indus river, which traditionally marks the boundary of the Indian subcontinent. Their foreignness is emphasised by their depiction in art, in which:

  • they have full flat faces
  • they have slanting eyes, not the protruding eye typical of Indians in painting from western India
  • their beards have a distinctive shape, similar to those found in Central Asian or Chinese populations
  • their clothes are very different from those of Indians.

The small figure standing below on the right is probably an attendant of the Śaka king. He has the same characteristics of face and clothing.

The monk is Kālaka, who appears to be teaching Jain principles.

In the top-right corner a quiver with arrows is shown. Though its symbolism is not totally clear, it could suggest that the king has given up ideas of war and fighting and turned to Jainism under the influence of Kālaka’s teaching.

This scene closes the first part of the story of Kālaka. With the help of his Śaka allies, the monk has defeated the wicked King Gardabhilla of Ujjayinī, who had kidnapped his sister, the nun Sarasvatī. The Sāhi rules over the region of Avanti, where Ujjayinī is located, in a peaceful atmosphere where Jainism is triumphant.

The text relates to the second part of the story, which narrates how the date of the festival of Paryuṣaṇ was changed.

Other visual elements

There are several notable things about this page, namely that:

  • the original paper is slightly torn and has water stains
  • the bottom of the right margin contains the number 1, which is the folio number.

This version of the Kālaka story is in verse, with numbers at the end of each stanza, often between two vertical lines, like here. On this page they are:

  • 66 at the end of line 1
  • 67 at the beginning of line 4
  • 68 at the end of line 6.

The three red circles along the central horizontal plane are symbolic reminders of the way in which manuscripts were bound when they were on palm-leaf. Here the central one is in a square blank shape. Strings through three holes were used to thread together the loose folios so the reader could turn them over easily. The circles are in the places where the holes would once have been.


The elaborate script is the Jaina Devanāgarī script, in a form which recalls calligraphy. It is used for writing numerous Indian languages, here Prakrit.

There are a few notable features of this script, namely:

  • it is an old type in the way the sounds e and o are notated when used with a consonant, known as pṛṣṭhamātrā script
  • the red vertical lines within the text divide the long sentences into smaller parts, but are not necessarily punctuation marks.