The rock outcropping on Dhauli hill at the bank of the river Daya, is a little away from the main road as one drives 8 km south of Bhubaneswar. It is the site of a set of rock edicts left by the Indian emperor Ashoka in about 260 BC.
The edicts, consisting of two special edicts not found elsewhere, are essentially public injunctions to the empire’s administrators in the area, enjoining them to rule with gentleness and justice: ‘…these are my instructions to you. You are in charge of many thousands of living beings. You should gain the affection of men. All men are my children, and as I desire for my children that they should obtain welfare and happiness both in this world and the next, the same do I desire for all men…’ The elephant which emerges from the rock above the inscription was probably 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 the Ashokan Edicts, the Peace Pagoda and modern Buddhist Monastery, 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 are added attractions.