Photograph of the hillside with the rock-cut Asoka inscriptions at Jaugada, Ganjam District, taken by Joseph David Beglar in 1874-76. Ashoka (reigned ca. 272-231 BC) was the most illustrious king of the Maurya dynasty. After his conquest of Kalinga in Orissa, struck with remorse at the suffering he caused, he converted to Buddhism and spent the rest of his life propagating his dharma (law). In order to achieve this, he had numerous edicts inscribed on rocks, pillars and caves, throughout his vast empire. These are written in various vernaculars and represent the earliest written document from the Indic regions. From these edicts it appears that Ashoka was an extremely tolerant and benevolent monarch. The Jaugada inscriptions of the emperor Ashoka are engraved on the surface of a rock in an old fort near the bank of the Rishikulya river. The rock rises vertically and faces the south east. The inscriptions are written on three different tablets on the vertical face of the rock but cannot be seen in this general view. J.D. Beglar, wrote: ''Within the fort are two prominent groups of bare rocks. On the larger, which has a tolerably level terrace at about half the height, a modern jogi has built a comfortable brick-and-plaster bungalow from the brickbats found in the spot. Behind the jogi's house rise up the rocks, bare and straight, and on part of the face of these rocks are inscribed the edicts of Asoka...''