Dhauli Hill Odisha (Orissa)
Dhauli Hill Odisha (Orissa):
Dhauli Hills - 8 km south of the present Bhubaneswar, across the Daya river, Dhauli has major edicts of Ashoka engraved on a mass of rock. It is presumed to be the area of the bloody battle of Kalinga, won by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in 265 BC. Though he conquered, but the horrors of having slain over 150,000 people and the misery it inflicted on the people filled Ashoka with remorse and brought about a sudden change of heart. He gave up his ambition of dig-vijaya (military conquest) in favour of dharma-vijay (spiritual conquest).
The great Mauryan king renounced the path of violence to embrace Buddhism and publicized his new maxims in rock edicts, installed in different parts around the empire. One of these is here at the base of Dhauli hills, in which he proclaims, 'All men are my children', and expresses his concern to ensure impartially, non-violence, justice and compassion, an inscription in ancient brahmi script. The top of the rock is sculpted into an imposing elephant's head, which is related to the dream the Buddha's mother saw of the Buddha descending to her womb in the form of an elephant. At Dhauli he built several chaityas, stupas and pillars. This is said to be the earliest rock cut structure in India. However, today the more visited site is, Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Peace Pagoda, at the top of Dhauli Hill, built by Indo Japanese collaboration in 1972, standing in the form of a massive dome with lotus petals as its crown. The five chhatris (umbrellas) placed on its flattened top represent five important aspects of Buddhism. This gleaming white double storey structure stands on a platform with two entrances with flights of steps. The stupa, from its origin emerges as the central focus of worship.