DhauliGiri Hills: The Shanti Stupa built after Kalinga War

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I drove to Dhauli Giri’s hills, and the silence of the place had a calming impact on me. I wanted to stay a little longer at the Chausathi Yogini Temple. It was a 21-minute drive from the Chausathi Jogini temple, and the rain also subsidedChausathi Jogini temple and the rain subsided. I just kept my crossed finger, so Dhauli Giri was not closed. The Shanti Stupa of Dhauligiri is also known as the Pagoda of Peace, built by the Fuji Guruji in 1972 as an Indo-Japanese collaboration. As King Ashoka took the path of peace and tranquillity and resorted to Buddhism, he laid the foundations of Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa in a known place at the end of the Kalinga war. 

DhauliGiri Hills: The Shanti Stupa built after Kalinga War
Shanti Stupa

Upon reaching the Dhauligiri Stupa, I could see the entire Bhuwaneshwar from the top. As Dhauli is situated on the Daya River banks, Dhauli Hill is where the Kalinga war waged. And the banks of Daya would have provided a natural boundary line between the two armies. However, the place where the Stupa stood was empty, apart from a tea stand and greenery.

The overview of the City from the Stupa

While I walked up the stairs towards the Dhauligiri Stupa, I could see the dome-shaped structure with stone panels showing Buddha’sBuddha’s footsteps and the Bodhi tree. And Various umbrellas around the periphery of the Stupa depict Buddha’s life episodes. And this reminded me of the Shanti Stupa in Rajgir. One of the spots had the image of Ashoka, who keeps his sword of war in front of Lord Buddha. This suggests that he had given up the idea of conflict entirely. Quite! Interesting. I took a complete round of the Dhauligiri Stupa. 

DhauliGiri Hills: The Shanti Stupa built after Kalinga War
The sculptures on the Stupa

Descending from the hill on the way towards existence, I saw the replica of the Ashokan pillar. The original Ashoka Pillar is a primary Buddhist site in Sarnath. Emperor Ashoka placed it in about 250 B.C. A graphical representation was adopted as the official symbol of India in 1950. I was amazed to see the pillar; it was like it had just come out of my history book. Just! Fantastic.

DhauliGiri Hills: The Shanti Stupa built after Kalinga War
Ashokan Pillar

Further ahead the road was the Ashokan’s edits discovered by Markham Kittoee in 1833. Moreover, its mentioned one  of Ashoka’s own words in his proclamation Rock XIII, “A hundred and fifty thousand people were taken captive from there, a hundred thousand were killed there, and many times this number died.” That’s! Dreadful. Also, the 3rd century B.C. rock edicts bear witness to the transformation of the compassionate Emperor Ashoka from the terrible one. However, the 2275 years old rock editions are housed in a small structure with transparent glass to see them. It is something worthy of consideration.

DhauliGiri Hills: The Shanti Stupa built after Kalinga War
Ashokan Rock Edicts

Above all these mandates, an elephant is sculpted on a hillside, with only its front parts emerging from the hillside, apart from the elephant being the holiest animal in the Buddhist pantheon. According to a legend, Queen Maya, the mother of Siddhartha (later known as the Buddha), had a dream. And she saw a white elephant enter her womb. Therefore signifying that she conceived Siddhartha. Hence the elephant has essential significance in the Buddhist religion. Also, this stone elephant is one of the most ancient specimens of Indian art, dating from the Maurya period. Moreover, the animal’s posture, emerging from a hill, can be taken to establish and extend the Buddhist faith into this newly conquered territory. Quite! Magnificent.

DhauliGiri Hills: The Shanti Stupa built after Kalinga War
Elephant Sculpture of the Muryan period

In addition to the Ashokan edict, there is another significant inscription in Dhauli. And this inscription is found in one of the caves across the Ashokan edict. However, it belonged to King Bhauma-kara Santideva. Also, the description is dated to 93 of an unknown epoch which most probably corresponds to the Ganges epoch. This listing is around 865 EC. Damn! Indian history– carries a legacy.

DhauliGiri Hills: The Shanti Stupa built after Kalinga War
More Edicts than Just Rock edits

In this Stupa vicinity is a monastery called the Saddharma Vihar Monastery. And It is widely visited by Buddhist devotees but is currently closed because of COVID-19. Also, on the most prominent hill ridge of Dhauli is the current temple of Dhavalesvar, constructed on the remains of a former temple dating back to Bhaumakara. I couldn’t visit them because of COVID-19.

Saddharma Vihar Monastery

While driving towards Bhubaneswar from Dhauli Giri, I realised that Bhubaneswar to,o lies near the ruins of Sisupalgarh., and the ancient capital of the old province of Kalinga who, has various ranges of heritage resources; along with the diversity of heritage resources, it showcases important sacred cultural components of the landscape that have evolved with the available natural resource base and cultural trigger. But I was glad that I could explore some part of it. I look forward to my rest tour. 

How to Reach:

By Air: 

Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport, approximately 3km from the heart of Bhubaneswar. You can reserve a taxi from the airport for Puri.

By Rail:

Bhubaneswar Railway Station is the town’s central railway located in the city’s centre. Superfast trains and passenger trains are readily available from the Bhubaneswar station. You can book a taxi or take buses for your destination within the town from the station.

By Road:

To reach within and around the city, you can get different modes like bus, taxi and auto-rickshaw. Bhubaneswar BusStation is within 8 km of the town, and you can get buses operated by Orissa State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC). Private buses are available here as well. 

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