As you drive down the highway from the capital of Orissa – Bhubaneswar towards Puri, the temple city, and 8 kms south of Bhubaneswar is a hill with vast open space, which has the famous Edicts of Ashoka engraved on a mass of rock, by the side of the road leading to the summit of the hill.
The rock outcropping on Dhauli hill were left by the Indian emperor Ashoka in about 260 BC where he expresses his concern for the “welfare of the whole world”. The rock-cut elephant above the Edicts is the earliest Buddhist sculpture of Orissa, meant to draw attention to the edict, and to serve as a symbol. Elephants are frequently associated with the Buddha, either as the form in which he is believed to have entered his mother’s womb, as the form the Buddha assumed in a previous incarnation, or as the sacred symbol of Buddhism itself.
The serenity of the place and the legacy of Buddhism motivated the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha, under the guidance of Guruji Fujii, Founder President of Nipponzan Myohoji of Japan to establish a Peace Pagoda or Shanti Stupa at Dhauli along with the construction of the monastery called Saddharma Vihar in early seventies of 19th century. Along with these Dhauli offers the visitors small-rock cut caves, Hindu temples of early medieval period and a renovated Siva temple known as Dhavalesvara on top of the hill that are added attractions.