Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa is a serene place, located on the banks of the river Daya and lies at a distance of 8KM south of Bhubaneswar in Odisha. The word ‘Shanti’ means Peace, so Dhauligiri is popularly known as ‘Peace Pagoda’. Dhauligiri is a hill with immense open space adjoining it and the famous rock edicts of Emperor Ashoka inscribed on a mass of rock, by the side of the road leading to the top of the hill are worth seeing. The dome structure of this Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa was made with Indo-Japaneese collaboration. It is constructed atop Dhauli hills and has five umbrellas that symbolize the five essential parts of Buddhism. Dhauligiri is said to be the battleground of Kalinga war and one of the popular landmarks of Odisha’s Buddhist heritage.
How to reach?
- By Road:
Dhauligiri can be easily reached by buses from neighbouring cities like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and OSRTDC has several bus services that connects Dhauli to all the major parts of Odisha. This place is well connected with motorable road and cabs as well as auto-rickshaws are also available from all nearby places. Apart from these, there are a lot of areas in Dhauli that could be explored on foot as well.
- By Rail:
Bhubaneswar Railway Station is the nearest railway station. It is well connected with main cities of India and the distance between Bhubaneswar Railway Station and Dhauligiri is 13.5KMs. You can get a Taxi or bus to reach at your destination.
- By Air:
Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport to Dhauli. The distance between the Airport and Dhauli is just 12.9KMs; therefore it will take around 30 minutes to reach your destination. As the city has convenient transportation options, there are easy Cab/Taxi/Bus services available to commute to your desired destination.
When to Visit?
Locals and travel experts recommend the best and suitable time to visit Dhauligiri hills is the winter season. As summers in Odisha experiences scorching heat with the average temperature up to 40 degree Celsius and the monsoon comes by the middle of June which is humid and hot too. Still if you’re planning to visit there in summer, then visit in the early morning or late in the evening otherwise the marble slabs become very hot during the daytime. Hence it’s better to plan a trip between the months of October to February. Visitors usually spend 1 to 2 hours here.
What to Do?
- Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa is a great place near to the temple city Bhubaneswar and is situated in a unique location where you will witness a bit of everything like river, hill and forest. View of Daya River and Bhubaneswar town from the top of the mountain is not only amazing but also peaceful.
- The place down Dhauligiri hills is a great place to make a picnic with your family, friends and relatives. There is a huge space of 3 acre land which is popular for picnic spot.
- Many shops are set up around this place that sell local artifacts, fresh fruits, tea, snacks, cane juice etc.
- Dhauli is well known as Photographers paradise. The place is located in the middle of greenery and provides a quiet break from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Santi stupa has a marvelous architecture and the view from the top of the Dhauligiri hills is breathtaking.
- As soon as you climb the stairs to reach the main Shanti Stupa, you keep on climbing the physical world’s charm towards divinity. The lush green view from top is soothing to the eye. Yes, Dhauligiri is a place of sanctity and beauty.
- Don’t miss the light and sound show if you are on a trip to Bhubaneswar in Odisha. The state’s first light and sound show has commenced at the Dhauligiri hills. The white peace pagoda that stands dazzling atop the Dhauligiri hills during the day, transforms into a canvas for the night; where the 35-minute light and sound show describes the glory of Kalinga empire, the famous Kalinga war and transformation of King Ashoka from Chandashoka(the military conqueror) to Dharmashoka(the spiritual conqueror).
- Dhauligiri is also an incredibly peaceful area for couples to spend some quality time with their beloved one.
History of Dhauligiri:
As per the historians, the world famous Kalinga war took place in the 8th year of Ashoka’s rule (in 261 BC), between the Mauryan Empire of Magadha and the kingdom of Kalinga. During that time, the king of Kalinga was Raja Ananta Padmanabhan. By taking ammutions to protect their mother land, the loyal and brave people of Kalinga fought fiercely against the armies of Mauryan Empire. But the battle resulted in lots of bloodshed and loss. Around 100,000 Kalinga civilians and more than 10,000 of Mauryan warriors died during this battle. The bloodshed in the war was so much that it is said the Daya river running next to the battlefield turned red with the blood of the dead and wounded. King Ashoka realized that he was the cause of this massive destruction which made him devote the rest of his life to Ahinsha (non-violence).After the bloody Kalinga war, Ashoka ended his military conquest of expansion of his empire and he ruled his grand empire for more than 40 years with harmony, peace and prosperity. Emperor Ashoka had choosen Dhauligiri as a place for retrospection and embraced Buddhism. Dhauli is the place where Samrat Ashoka had won the Kalinga war but lost himself as an ardent admirer of Buddhism. Later, the Santi Stupa in Dhauli was built further by Fuji Guruji of Japan and inaugurated in 1972.
Since the great Ashoka followed the path of peace and adopted Buddhism, he laid the foundation of Dhauli Shanti Stupa at that place which is well known for the end of Kalinga war. According to the excavations made by ASI, there are many Rock Edicts such as Nos. I-X, XIV and two separate Kalinga Edicts have been found in Dhauligiri hills. In Kalinga Edict VI, it is engraved about “the welfare of the whole world”. The oldest Buddhist sculptures in Odisha as the rock cut elephant above the edicts are also shown here.
The grand peace pagoda is a Buddhist structure built jointly by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha in 1972. The pagoda is domed on top with mushroom like structures which is adorned with speaking stone panels. The five umbrellas placed on top represents the five aspects of Buddhism. The five aspects are:
- Not to hurt any living things.
- To use all your senses in a correct way.
- Speak kindly and speak truth always.
- Don’t take Alcohol or Drugs.
- Desist from taking which is not yours/ which is not given.
This Stupa was constructed by the chief priest of Nipponzan Myohoji, who came to India in 1930 from Mt. Minbou. The main stone panels are adorned with reclining Buddha, an elephant procession, the Bodhi tree and footprints of Buddha bearing the Chakra (wheel). The panels also consist of a sleeping beauty fanned by female servants, procession on horseback and King Ashoka giving up war by offering his sword to Lord Buddha at Dhauli. You can see Lord Buddha’s statues, Saddharma Vihar Monastery, the gigantic lion sculpture at the entrance of Dhauligiri Shanti stupa, Chaityas and pillars made by Emperor Ashoka, the prehistoric sculptures and varied remarkable art forms which are located at this spot.
Besides Buddhists, Hindus also visit Dhauligiri because an old Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Dhabaleswar (Lord Shiva) is also present there. It is located beyond the Stupa and was reconstructed in 1972.
The Light and Sound Show:
Every day in the evening time, the light and sound show is organized by Odisha Tourism Department. It tells about the story of transformation of Emperor Ashoka from Chandashoka (the Cruel Ashoka) to Dharmashoka (Ashoka, the follower of Dharma) by the projection of laser rays onto the surface of white pagoda. In the 35 minutes of the reverting show, the audience bears witness to the glory of the Kalinga Empire, the feuds within the Mauryan Empire and King Ashoka’s rise to power. The show wraps up with Ashoka renouncing violence, embracing the teachings of Buddhism and propagating the religion from Kalinga to rest of the world.
What makes the Dhauligiri light and sound show eye catching is the unique amalgamation of art and advance multimedia technology. The projection process uses the latest non-invasive 3D projection mapping technology that ensures no harm is caused to the monument’s surface. Famous actors from Hindi and Odia film industries have lent their voice for the show. Bollywood actor Padma Shri Om Puri narrates the Hindi script, veteran Odia actor Bijay Mohanty renders his voice for its Odia version and actor Kabir Bedi has done the honours for the English version.
There are 2 shows in every evening.
- Show 1: 7 PM to 7.35 PM
- Show 2: 7.45 PM to 8.20 PM
- For Adults: Rs 25/-
- For Children/ Students: Rs 10/-
*For more information you can contact to Mr. Shasanka Rath, Tourist Officer. Phone no: 9437196064
Facilities Available in Dhauli:
- Camera/ Video allowed
- Wearing of Shoes or any footwear allowed
- Good Hotels around it
- Entry fee is completely free
- Food available for purchase at a very cheaper price
- The premises is clean and well maintained
- Bathroom/ Toilet facilities
Tips and Suggestions:
- Get your own vehicle if possible and ride like you own the city mall road.
- On your way to Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa, must taste the classic odia street food ‘Dahi Vada- Aloo Dum’ which are prepared fresh and sold by local vendors.
- Another main attraction of this place is fresh and cool Sugar cane juice sold by local vendors. (I personally prefer to visit this place during early morning followed by a glass of Sugarcane juice or tea at the parking area.)
- If you’re visiting the Shiva temple at Dhauli, then I’ll suggest to just have a darshan as priests here keep demanding money.
- Don’t take pets with you. Pets are not allowed here.
- If you’re visiting this place in rainy season, note that the tiles and floors are very slippery during the rains and chances of falling are high. So take care of children and elders.
- Climbing a great height might cause inconvenience to the aged people.
- Must visit Dhauli festival which is held in every winter around the month of January.
Moreover, Dhauligiri is a must visit place for travel enthusiasts, history lovers and photographers. Come and enjoy the serene and sublime scenery of Dhauli which you will not be able to see in today’s world.