View of rock with Asoka inscriptions, showing eastern face with edicts I-XI, Shahbazgarhi, Peshawar District 10031141
Photographer: Beglar, Joseph David
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the rock with Asoka inscriptions at Shahbazgarhi, Peshawar District, showing the eastern face with the edicts I-XI, taken by James Craddock c. 1870s. Ashoka (reigned ca. 272-231 BC) was the most illustrious king of the Mauryan dynasty. The Mauryan empire at the time of Ashoka encompassed almost the whole of South Asia, territory which had been attained through vicious fighting. After his conquest of Kalinga in Orissa, struck with remorse at the suffering he had caused, Ashoka converted to Buddhism and spent the rest of his life propagating his dharma (law). In order to communicate his ideas relating to the way people should live their lives, he had numerous inscriptions or 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. Fourteen are inscribed on a rock at Shahbazgarhi. Most of the inscriptions are engraved on the eastern side of the hill, looking upwards.