Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rock Edict of Ashoka

250 BC Dhauli, near Bhubaneshvar
Dhauli is located in the ancient territory of Kalinga, now the state of Orissa, which the emperor Ashoka (reigned 272-231 BC) conquered with appalling loss of life in about 260 BC. Thereafter the emperor repented of the violence which he had done, and converted to Buddhism. He expressed his remorse, and his intention to govern the kingdom according to the principles of his new faith, in a series of rock-cut edicts which were inscribed on over 100 monuments throughout his vast kingdom.
The Dhauli monument is seen in this photo. Its sculpted elephant faces east. Ashoka's inscription is cut into the north face of the rock, below the sculpture. The hill temples in the background are modern: a white "peace" stupa built by the Japanese, and a reconstructed Shiva temple.

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