Situated near the banks of river Daya near Bhubaneswar, Dhauli is known to have been the silent witness of one of the most flaming wars in annals of Indian history. In 261 B.C the famous Kalinga war is said to have taken place here. The war occurred as Asoka, one of the most valiant emperors of ancient India desired to include Kalinga into his empire. But Kalinga dared to defy the mighty emperor. What ensued was a war that left millions dead on the battlefield. Legend has it that the river Daya turned red as blood of countless warriors spilled on it during the war.
Emperor Asoka was moved by the ghastly tale of death and adopted Buddhism to renounce violence as he repented on having killed so many men. But he was pragmatic enough to retain his army to look after his empire. His territorial conquest ended here. Instead he set upon a spiritual conquest by sending emissaries to abroad.
Asoka’s rock edicts are still present here and they depict the teachings of the emperor. Also a Buddhist stupa, known as Shanti Stupa, is located here and it has been constructed by monks from Japan. These structures have been drawing huge number of tourists every year.