Located on the river banks of Daya near Bhubaneshwar, Dhauli hill is an important Buddhist destination. History states that the incident at Dhauli changed the mind of a violent emperor to kindness and inspired him to embrace Buddhism. It was here that Kalinga war was fought which led to the transformation of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka into Buddhism. Here he gave up military conquest for spiritual conquest and thereon devoted his life on to building chaitya grihas, stupas, pillars and rock edicts glorifying the sacred religion.
Dhauli is also famous for Asokan rock edicts. The top of the rock edict is sculpted into an imposing elephant’s head, symbolizing the Buddhist Dharma. In 1971’s, this prominent Buddhist site saw the construction of Shanti Stupa, a Japanese Peace Pagoda. Considering its spiritual reverence, the site now attracts hordes of pilgrims who seek the peace, inspiration and piety in this beautiful setting of Dhauli stupa.
Dhauli tour discovers the Buddhist heritage of the region through its rock edicts, ruins and stupas and recent attraction of Japanese Shanti Stupa.
Location: Situated at a distance of 8 km from Bhubaneswar, the hills stretch high near river Daya, in the Khurda district of Orissa.
Tourist Attractions near Dhauli Hill, Bhubaneshwar -
Shanti Stupa - Also known as the Peace Pagoda, Shanti Stupa is a peaceful refuge to the pilgrims. Here at Dhauli, Emperor Ashoka adopted the path to peace and salvation and resorted towards Buddhism. There is a famous rock edict which is visited by many tourists and pilgrims in order to take inspiration from the most impressive Buddhist follower and his life. Set on a serene landscape, the dome shaped Shanti Stupa inspires devotees to experience and achieve the eternal peace of mind. Besides this, there are other many sculptural and archaeological marvels in Dhauli, including Buddha statue.
Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s capital and prime pilgrimage city, Bhubaneswar is renowned for blissful Hindu temples. These superb sacred structures belong to the revival era of Hinduism (7th-13th century era) and are a reason why Bhubaneswar is known as city of temples. Of the 400 temples that dot the city, the must visit attraction of Orissa temples during Dhauli Tour include Lingaraja temple, Rajrani temple, Vaital Deul Temple, Mukteswar temple and Parasurameswar temple.
Pipli: Fifteen kms away from Bhubaneswar, Pipli is a village of artisans renowned for their colourful appliqué fabric art. Originally, the stitched craft served the temples with intricate awnings and covers for deities, and for festival hangings. But now, the craft is available for everyone including tourists in the form of colourfully vibrant garden umbrellas, wall hangings and bags that can be taken back as souvenirs.
Nandankanan Zoological Park: One of the most popular excursions from Dhauli tour, Nandankanan Zoological Park is a treat for all senses. This is also the first Indian zoo to be a part of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). The park has in it a botanical garden and fraction of it has been declared a sanctuary. Located 48 km away from Dhauli, this famous wildlife park is known as home for blue eyed white tigers. Besides white tigers, the park also serves as a home to rare Asiatic lions, rhinoceroses, crocodiles, monkeys and deer. The botanical region of the park accommodates Orissa’s largest Orchid House featuring around 130 species of orchids.
Lalitigiri – It is an archeological site of a Buddhist Monastery that flourished during 4th to 8th Century AD. Besides the monastic ruins, Lalitgiri also hosts many votive stupas, Chaitya halls and a huge stupa where caskets of Lord Buddha's relics are enshrined.
Ratnagiri - 101 km ahead of Dhauli tour brings a tourist to the largest Buddhist monastic ruins at Ratnagiri. This monastic shelter flourished during 4th to 14th century AD and displays the sculptures dedicated to Vajrayana sect, hundreds of Votive stupas, brick stupa and huge monastery.
How to reach Dhauli Hill Station:
Air: Bhubaneswar, the nearest airport is well connected to the major cities of India.
Rail: Bhubaneshwar is a major station near Dhauli and well connected on the railway network of India.
Road: Dhauli can be reached by Bus, or rented Taxi. Auto rickshaws run too, but as usual, fix the amount before riding.