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Things To Do In Dhauli
Situated along the banks of the river Daya, a small town by the name of Dhauli or Dhauligiri is located just a little distance outside Bhubaneswar – the capital city of Orissa. It is most well-known historically for being the site of the Kalinga War that was fought in 3rd century BC between the Mauryan Empire of King Asoka and the Kalinga Kingdom. The numerous lives lost in the war led to Asoka abandoning his ways of war, followed by his acceptance of Buddhism.
He spent the rest of his life spreading the teachings of Buddha and made Dhauli an important centre of pilgrimage. Numerous rock carvings are spread around the hill that depicts Asoka’s principles of non-violence and his retelling of the Kalinga War. Come discover the historical significance of this place for yourself and experience the retelling of the war in the form of the structures on display here. Here are the top things to do when in Dhauli.
Explore the Temples
Dhauli is most famous for the Shanti Stupa located opposite the Dhauligiri Hill, which is a major pilgrimage site for the Buddhists of the country. It was established in 1972 by the joint efforts of the Japanese Buddha Sangh and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangh. Just beyond the stupa, a temple dedicated to Lord Dhavaleshwar is a significant religious site for Hindus. While most people visiting Dhauli come here as a part of an extended trip to Bhubaneswar, the impressive religious monuments located in the capital are worthy of a mention when talking about magnificent temples situated around Dhauli. The Lingaraj Temple, Brahmeshwar Temple, Mukteshwar Temple, Rajarani Temple and the Yogini Temple are the most ancient religious structures in the city and definitely worth a visit.
Celebrate Dhauli Kalinga Mahotsav
This three-day festival is one of the most awaited events in the region and is celebrated in the month of February each year. The name of the festival is partially derived from the Kalinga Dynasty, which included a large part of Orissa in ancient times. It is celebrated on the foothills of the Peace Pagoda in association with the Orissa Dance Academy; it is organised as a tribute to the martyrs of the Mauryan Dynasty and to mark the victory of peace over war.
With over 500 performance artists taking part in the festival, the event features a spectacular mix of classical, martial and contemporary dance and music art forms. The event began in 2003 and has since grown in popularity substantially, which attracts both locals as well as national and international tourists each year.
Hike along Daya River
The scenic beauty around Dhauligiri Hill is only accentuated by the vast plains that surround River Daya. On a good weather day, it is a wonderful place to enjoy a rejuvenating hike and take walks around the ancient historical ruins of Dhauli. The forests in the area also add to the charm of Dhauli and make trekking in the region all the more exciting.
Watch the Light & Sound Show
Every night, except for Mondays, the grounds of Shanti Stupa are bedazzled with a spectacular laser light show that depicts the life of Asoka along with a brilliant retelling of the Kalinga War history. The narration is in the impressive voice of actor Kabir Bedi, and is accompanied with 3D projections and lovely paintings and imagery. A nominal fee is charged for the show that is totally worth the glorious display on offer.