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Situated on the banks of river Daya is the famous Dhauli Hills. Located 8 km away from Bhubaneswar, Dhauli hills are famous for Dhauli Giri Shanti Stupa. The hill has a vast open space adjoining to it and has edicts of Ashoka engraved on a mass rock. This massive rock is located on the side of the road on the way to the hill. It is presumed that the Dhauli hill was the area where the Kalinga War was fought. The rock edicts found here includes 1 to 10 and number 14 edicts of Ashoka along with two separate edicts. Above the edicts a rock cut elephant is carved depicting the architecture during the Kalinga rule. The animals are shown only with its foreparts, which has a fine sense of form and movement.
It is believed that Ashoka had special weakness towards Dhauli hills, not only because the great Kalinga war was fought here but also because it is here in this place that he was enlightened. The story states that after the war was over the water of the river Daya turned red with the blood of the deceased. When Ashoka saw this he was taken aback and he realized the aftermath of a war. The magnitude of the horror that a war can create was realized by the King. After this as we all know Ashoka accepted Buddhism and later turned Dhauli into a Buddhist activity centre of importance. Later Asoka built many chaitas, stupas and pillars in this area. He also excavated abodes for monks. Here also expounded the main principals of Dandaniti.
At the top of the stupa, a massive white pagoda was built by Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nipon Buddha Sangha around 1970. The nearby areas of Dhauli have many Ashokan edicts inscribed for common public. This area offers a peace and solace to the heart.
Attractions at Dhauligiri Hills Bhubaneshwar
There are many important places to see in the Dhauli hills. All these major attractions are related to the Dhauli Shanti Stupa built by Ashoka. Some of the important attractions that need to be noticed while visiting this area are as follows:
According to the excavations made by ASI, many Rock Edicts are found here including Nos.I-X, XIV and two other separate Kalinga Edicts. As Ashoka’s expression of his concern about mankind and its welfare in Kalinga, we can find the Edict VI; it is inscribed in that edict about the "welfare of the whole world". The Buddhist sculptures in Bhubaneswar as the rock-cut elephant carved above the Edicts can be seen here. They are one of the oldest evidence present.
The Shanti Stupa or the grand Peace Pagoda can be spotted on the hilltop. It was constructed in 1972 by the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha Japan Buddha Sangha. The peace pagoda serves as a reminder to the peace that mankind needs for a harmony in living.
A number of Ashokan edicts are found lying in close distance with the Bhaskareshwar Temple located at Tankapani road. Here one can also locate a small Stupa founded by Ashoka.
The temple of Shiva is situated in the Dhauligiri hills. It is the place for the mass gathering for the celebrations of Shiva Ratri. Every year thousands of people visit this place to see the grand Shivarati during the season.
The Shanti Stupa has many Buddha statues in different postures located. As Ashoka believed and propounded in Bhuddhism, evidences of it are found here along with statues which serves to bring in peace and the reminder of peace to mankind. The statues are big and each faces a side.