Ashoka Maurya also known as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled most of the Indian Subcontinent from 269 B.C. to 232 B.C.
One of the greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over a kingdom that stretched from the Hindu Kush mountains in the west to Bengal in the East and covered entire India except parts of present day Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Around 260 B.C. Ashoka waged a destructive war against the state of Kalinga (modern day Odisha) and conquered Kalinga, which none of his ancestors had done.
After witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War, which he himself had waged out of a desire for conquest he embraced Buddhism. He was later dedicated to the propagation of Buddhism across Asia, and established monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha.
What though remains a mystery to many is the nine unknown men who along with Emperor Ashoka formed a society to safeguard a secret of the Mahabharata which they believed was of great danger.
Who these men were and what they did was a safely guarded secret. All that is known is that these men went to great extents to protect the ancient secret and till now have succeeded in their endevour.
While not much is known as to what this secret is, word has it that these men had hidden some clues in the various rock edicts of Ashoka and it is believed that the person who can decipher them can unravel this lost secret.
So if you are feeling adventurous to set out on a trail of missing history then here are a few places in India that is known to have some hidden clues. Let them be a start for a wondrous discovery.
Behind the west gate of Junagadh, across the bridge, is one of the most important Ashoka edict. It is inscribed on a large domed mass of black granite. The difficulty in accessing this monument allows only the few travellers willing to climb the mountain each year to visit the rock edict. Neatly etched on the rock surface is the inscription of Ashoka in Brahmi script.
Photo Courtesy: Jadia gaurang
In 1882, Bhagvanlal Indraji, a noted archaeologist excavated at Merdes village, near Sopara the ruins of a Buddhist Stupa. From the center of the stupa a large stone coffer was excavated which contained eight bronze images of Maitreya Buddha which belong to the 8th-9th century. This coffer also enclosed relic caskets of copper, silver, crystal, gold and stone. What lay within these caskets is still a mystery.
Photo Courtesy: Harini Calamur
Dhauli is a significant place of interest for tourists. The specialty of the place is that it contains a rock edict that was constructed by Emperor Ashoka from the Maurya Dynasty. This edict was installed around 3rd century. The surprising element is that the rock edict remains the same till date. The place offers a serene atmosphere and a beautiful view. It is presumed that the Dhauli Hill was the place where the Kalinga war was fought. Symbols of Buddhism are found in the place.
Photo Courtesy: Debashis Pradhan
Jaugada is a ruined fortress in Odisha. Once a provincial Mauryan fortified capital of the newly conquered province of Kalinga, it is famed fot the monumental stone cut edicts in Prakrit of the Mauryan emperor, Ashoka.
Photo Courtesy: Eugen Hultzsch
Ashoka Shilalekh is an old rock edict of Emperor Ashoka and is located Bairat erstwhile Viratnagar. This is an isolated place with great scenic beauty and immense historical significance. Ashoka, the emperor of the Maurya Dynasty engraved his announcements and laws on these rock edicts.
Photo Courtesy: Giridharmamidi
Dating back to the Mauryan empire, the Barabar Caves are the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in the country. Most caves at Barabar have two chambers, carved wholly out of granite, with an exceedingly polished internal surface and an echo effect. The four major caves are Karan Chaupar, Lomas Rishi, Sudama and Visva Zopri, each of which has magnanimous arches, very rare in ancient times. The caves are a fine example of rock- cut architecture.
Photo Courtesy: Photo Dharma