Kalsi – Emperor Ashoka’s Rock Edict

I am familiar with the Rock Edicts of Emperor Ashoka, having been fortunate to have seen the one at Girnar in Gujarat. However, I happened to come across an article recently that mentioned another of Ashoka’s rock edicts, located in a place that I had not even heard the name of until then (I love my geography and traveling, so consider myself reasonably well aware of place names in India).

Kalsi is a small village in Uttarakhand state, located about 30 kilometres to the north of Dehradun (as the crow flies), very close to the bordering state of Himachal Pradesh. The village lies at the confluence of the Yamuna and Tons rivers. The rock edict of Ashoka located here is unique in that it’s the only major rock edict located in present-day North India.

Of the 14 major rock edicts in existence today, 3 are located outside present-day India (1 in Afghanistan and 2 in Pakistan). The rest are distributed across Western, Southern and Eastern India and can be found in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, and the one in Kalsi, Uttarakhand.

Online research reveals a few articles that talk about this specific Rock Edict. It is believed to have been built around 450 BC, making it nearly 2,500 years old! Online pictures reveal the edict to be covered with a dome shaped monument, surrounded by well-maintained lawns at the foothills of the Himalayan range. It looks a very peaceful place.

Google Maps reveals only a little over 350 reviews for the monument, so this is clearly a very off-the-beaten-track place. I would like to think of this as a very important part of our cultural heritage and would be great if more people discover this valuable part of our history.

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