In about 260 BC, 11 of of Ashoka’s 14 famous edicts were carved onto a rock at Dhauli, 8km south of Bhubaneswar. Above the edicts, the earliest Buddhist sculpture in Odisha – a carved elephant representing Buddha – emerges from a rock. From the Dhauli turn-off, accessed by Bhubaneswar-Puri buses (₹15, 30 minutes), it’s a tree-shaded 3km walk or shared/private autorickshaw ride (₹10/100) to the rock edicts and then a short, steep walk to the stupa. Uber drop-off costs around ₹180.

Just beyond the rock edicts, each translated into English, is the huge, white Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda), built by Japanese monks in 1972 on a hill to the right. Older Buddhist reliefs are set into the modern structure, and there are great views of the surrounding countryside from the top.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Odisha attractions

1. Lingaraj Mandir


The 54m-high Lingaraj Mandir dedicated to Shiva dates from 1090 to 1104 – though some parts are more than 1400 years old – and is surrounded by several…

2. Brahmeswar Shiva Mandir

3.36 MILES

Standing in well-kept gardens and flanked on its plinth by four smaller structures, this 9th-century temple is a smaller version of Lingaraj Mandir. It’s…

3. Kedargauri Mandir

3.42 MILES

Over the pathway from Mukteswar Mandir is the whitewashed Kedargauri Mandir, one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar (although it has been substantially…

4. Chausath Yogini

3.45 MILES

Hidden among rice fields 15km south of Bhubaneswar, this small but serene 9th-century open-roofed temple is dedicated to yoginis (female tantric mystics)…

5. Mukteswar Mandir

3.46 MILES

This small but beautiful 10th-century structure is one of the most ornate temples in Bhubaneswar; you'll see reproductions of it on posters across Odisha…

6. Vaital Mandir

3.48 MILES

This 8th-century temple, with a double-storey ‘wagon roof’ influenced by Buddhist cave architecture, was a centre of tantric worship, eroticism and bloody…

7. Siddheswara Mandir

3.48 MILES

Located in the same compound as Mukteswar Mandir, Siddheswara Mandir is a later, more austere temple with a red Ganesha adorning the facade.

8. Parsurameswar Mandir


This is an ornate Shiva temple built around AD 650. It has lively bas-reliefs of elephant and horse processions, panels of musicians and dancers, and…