Rock with Asoka inscriptions, Dhauli, Puri District
Photographer: Caddy, Alexander E.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the rock with Ashoka inscription and elephant sculpture at Dhauli, taken by Alexander E. Caddy in 1895. Ashoka (reign ca. 272-231 BC) was the most illustrious king of the Maurya dynasty. After his conquest of the kingdom of Kalinga in modern day Orissa, struck with remorse at the suffering he caused, Ashoka 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 would appear clear that Ashoka was an extremely tolerant and benevolent monarch. Near Dhauli, south of Bhubaneshwar, there is a rock inscribed with the edicts of the emperor Ashoka. The front of the rock is sculpted as the head, trunk and front legs of an elephant.