8-km south of Bhubaneswar, Orissa
Ashokan Rock Eddicts & Elephant Sculpture
Dhauli, Orissa, is famous for its Buddhist Monuments. It also happens to be the place where the bloodiest of battles was fought and won by Emperor Ashok. It is also the moment that marked his transformation from an ambitious king of a prospering kingdom to a follower of Buddha and his teaching. The evidence of this transformation can be seen at Dhauli, 8 km from Bhubaneswar, in form of a rock edict marked by the image of an elephant sculpted from the overhanging rock. There are two such rock edicts still surviving in Orissa. The inscriptions are public injunctions where Emperor Ashok asks his administrators and the general public to live peacefully and fall the lessons that Buddhism has to offer.
Ashoka, the great seeing the horrors of war changed his mind in favour of spiritual conquests in preference to his war exploits. He donned orange robes and the world saw in Ashoka the making of a great patron of Buddhism. Dhauli is famous for the Ashokan rock-edicts, which are inscribed on a rock, with the relief of an emerging elephant at the top. These contain eleven of the well-known set of fourteen rock-edicts found within the limits of the Ashokan Empire. Here Ashoka had got inscribed two separate rock edicts especially for the people of Kalinga.
The Peace Pagoda (Vishwa Shanti Stupa), built in 1972 Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha, is another popular tourist destination that you can visit on your tour of Buddhist destinations in Orissa. The small rock cut caves and medieval Hindu temples in Dhauli, Orissa, are other places that are worth seeing on your tour of Buddhist Monuments in Orissa.
The Stupa of Peace
The serenity of the place and the legacy of Buddhism motivated the "Kalinga Nippon-Buddha Sangha", under the guidance of 'Guruji Fujii', Founder President of "Nipponzan Myohoji" of Japan to establish a "Peace Pagoda" or "Shanti Stupa" at Dhauli. along with the construction of a monastery called "Saddharma Vihar" in early seventies.
Along with the Ashokan Edicts, the peace pagoda and modern Buddhist monastery, Dhauli offers the visitors small rock cut caves, Hindu temples of early medieval period and a renovated Shiva temple dedicated to Lord 'Dhavalesvara' on top of the hill as added attractions.
The beautiful rural landscape, the old monuments, the new peace pagoda and the temple on the top of the hill with a winding Daya river flowing by offers a sublime tranquility and meditative serenity.