The Dhauli Shanti Stupa or the Peace Pagoda as it is known was built by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha in 1972. Built on the site where the famous Kalinga War was fought, the Dhauli Stupa commemorates the mission of peace that the Kalinga War achieved. Noted historian Shri. Ramesh Prasad Mohapatra aptly said - “The political history of mankind in reality is a history of wars and no war has ended with so successful a mission of peace for the entire war-torn humanity as the war of Kalinga”.
Any article on Dhauli Shanti Stupa is incomplete without a brief on the Kalinga War- recorded as one of the bloodiest wars ever fought in the annals of the history of mankind.
The war was believed to have been fought in 261 BC. The reason for Ashoka invading Kalinga were primarily two things
1. Kalinga was a prosperous land governed by valiant fiercely independent feudal chiefs and had no organized army as such.
2. None other than Chandragupta Maurya had failed to invade Kalinga. According to popular legend the Daya River which meanders along the Dhauli hill turned red due to blood spilled on it from the battlefield.
According to popular legend the Daya River which meanders along the Dhauli hill turned red due to blood spilled on it from the battlefield. The carvings in the Udayagiri caves located at Khandagiri, Bhubaneswar denotes that even women and teenagers took to the battle to defend their motherland. So fierce was the battle that it left Ashoka bewildered and he transformed from Chanda Ashoka (war mongering Ashoka) to Dharma Ashoka (peace loving Ashoka). Sadly the record books don’t have any mention about the commander of the Kalinga Army.
The light and sound show elucidating the travails of Ashoka is a must watch.
The Kalinga Dhauli Mahotsav –The three day festival usually held in the month of February features a heady mix of classical music, classical dance and martial art dance forms. The festival is organized by the Odisha Tourism Department and features some of the legendary musicians, dancers and popular martial art dance forms from across the country. There is no entry fee attached to the festival.