Anirbaan Hritiq

The famous peace pagoda or Shanti Stupa atop Dhauli hill on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar has completed 50 years of existence today. The magnificent white-domed Buddhist monument was constructed back in 1973 by the Kalinga Nippon Budha Sangha to commemorate the transition of Emperor Ashoka from a violent tyrant to a peaceful ruler.

The 50-year-old monument is set to host an estimated crowd of one hundred and fifty monks coming from the USA, Ukraine, Sri Lanka, Japan and other countries. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will also attend the mega event. The monument will remain closed for general visitors from 8 am to 1 pm in view of the celebration.

Historian Basant Kumar Mallick said, “Dhauli has a significant history and is famous for two prominent reasons. Firstly, it was the epicentre of the Kalinga War. Secondly, this is the place where emperor Ashoka adopted Buddhism and spent the rest of his life spreading the message of peace, oneness and humility worldwide.”

Meanwhile, Science and Technology, Public Enterprises Minister Ashok Chandra Panda said, “Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has contributed a lot towards the development of Dhauli. The government has allocated about Rs 2 crore for the development works.

Notably, the site in which the modern-day Peace Pagoda is situated represents the legacy of “The Kalinga War” which occurred back in 261 B.C. The brutal war which concluded on the Daya river banks is often referred to as the turning point of fierce Mauryan Emperor Ashoka’s life. The war changed the total course of the emperor’s life by transforming him into a peace-loving individual, who adopted the path of Buddhism.

(Reported by Soumya Ranjan Sahoo, Chandan Kumar Paikray)