8-km south of Bhubaneswar, Orissa
Main Attractions :
Ashokan Rock Eddicts & Elephant Sculpture
: 3rd C.B.C.
Modern Edifice :
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.
The Orissan edicts, consisting of two special edicts not found elsewhere, are essentially public injunctions to the empire's administrators in the area, enjoining them to rule with gentleness and justice: '...these are my instructions to you. You are in charge of many thousands of living beings. You should gain the affection of men. All men are my children, and as I desire for my children that they should obtain welfare and happiness both in this world and the next, the same do I desire for all men...'
The elephant which emerges from the rock above the inscription was probably meant to draw attention to the edict, and to serve as a symbol. Elephants are frequently associated with the Buddha, either as the form in which he is believed to have entered his mother's womb, as the form the Buddha assumed in a previous incarnation, or as the sacred symbol of Buddhism itself.