Ashoka Rocks

Karakoram Highway

On the north side of town is Mansehra's tourist attraction, three granite boulders on which 14 edicts were engraved by order of the Mauryan king Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. Appalled by the destruction wreaked by his military campaigns, Ashoka converted to Buddhism and tried to dictate a new morality based on piety, moderation, tolerance and respect for life. He was greatly revered, but his reforms (and his empire) didn't last much longer than he did.

The inscriptions have done better, but they too are fading away; despite the shelters, the ancient Karoshthi script is now almost impossible to see. The rocks uphill are better than the one below the road.