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        Abhaya Nayak
            Intelligent Systems Group

 

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Shanti Stupa (Mound of Peace) at Dhauli



The Dhauli Shanti Stupa is situaled at the outskirt of Bhubaneswar. It commemorates the historic leap of faith that Emperor Ashoka went through in the aftermath of the famous Battle of Kalinga (261 B.C.). The Kalinga empire (roughly corresponds to the present day Orissa) controlled both the land and sea routes to South India. This necessitated the ambitious Mauryan emperor Ashok's design to have Kalinga as a part of the Mauryan empire. Kalinga was utterly defeated in this war. In the words of Ashoka, "A hundred and fifty thousand people [of Kalinga] were deported [presumably to clear waste land and establish new settlements], a hundred thousand killed, and many times that number perished...". The horror of this campaign filled the king with remorse. It is often said that chandashoka (Ashoka, the Cruel) changed to Dharmashoke (Ashoka, the Pious) overnight. But there is evidence that this change in heart was gradual, and Ashoka became a zealous Buddhist in about two and half years after the war. He preached nonviolence and tolerance, and hoped that his descendants will shun conquest by violence.




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