Friday, January 18, 2008

The Buddhist Trail of Central India

On the bank of River Daya, a few kilometers away from Bhubaneswar, in Orissa, is the Dhauli Hill, famous for the Dhauli Edicts carved by Emperor Ashoka, relating the horrors he experienced during the Kalinga War, his anguish at the needless bloodshed and his subsequent conversion to Buddism.The adjacent large hill is topped by a Shanti Stupa., established by the Kalinga. Nippon Buddha Sangha. There is also a monastery here called the Saddharma Vihar. About 60 km north-east of Cuttak, are the three hills of Ratnagiri, Lalitagiri and Udaigiri. Extensive excavations here have unearthed monastics complexes and relices.

68 km north of Bhopal, the capital of MadhyaPradesh is Sanchi home to some of the oldest and most interesting Buddhist shrines in the country. Most notable of these, is the Great Stupa No 1 built by Emperor Ashoka in the third century BC Stupa No 2, dating backto the 2nd century BC, stands at the very edge of the hill with a stone balustrade surrounding it. Stupa No 3, located into the northis were the relics of two famous disciples of Buddha were found.-east of the Great Stupa . Besides these ancient Stupas, Sanchi has ruins of several Buddhist temples and monasteries. The Great Bowl, caved out of single block of stone, contained food that was distributed amongst the monks of Sanchi.

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