Dhauli hill is on the bank of the river Daya, about 8 kms south of Bhubaneshwar. In the year 272 B.C., the Kalinga-Nippon-Buddha Sangha established a peace pagoda (Shanti Stupa) at Dhauli along with the construction of a monastery called Saddharma. "Ashoka the Great" transformed totally and changed his mind in favour of spiritual conquests. Looking down on the plains bearing witness to the gruesome war waged on Kalinga by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, stand the rock edicts of Dhauli. It was here that Emperor Ashoka, full of remorse renounced his bloodthirsty campaign and embraced Buddhism. The edicts are a living testimony to the King's change of heart, where he urges his administrators to rule the land with justice and compassion. The edicts are so remarkable that they have been excellently preserved, despite the fact that they date back to the 3rd century BC. A sculpted elephant, the universal symbol of Lord Buddha, tops the rock edicts. The moment one enters near this place, one realizes that it is here after the battle Ashoka was transformed to Ashoka - The Compassionate who championed the cause of Buddhism. The Shanti Stupa or the peace pagoda, built through the Indo-Japanese collaboration, is located on the opposite hill. It has an interesting background that goes. As per Japanese belief, there is a prophecy handed to history about 7 to 7 1/2 centuries ago by Mahatma Nichiren Imaha Bhikshu. He prophesied that the chief priest of Nipponzan Myohoji Fuji Guruji would come to India in 1930 from Mt. Minobu, the original holy place of the Nichiren sect. He came and got the Shanti Stupa built, which was inaugurated on November 8, 1972. It is a round structure with a dome on top, with mushroom-like structures on top, raising their umbrella heads as if speaking to God. The stupa is decorated with speaking stone panels. Prominent amongst them being the reclining Buddha, an elephant procession, the bodhi tree, footprints of Buddha bearing the chakra (wheel), a sleeping beauty fanned by female attendants, procession on horse back, and Emperor Ashoka renouncing war by offering his sword to Lord Buddha at Dhaulagiri Hill. Each is a sensitive portrayal of an event ranking outstanding Buddhist tradition.
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