Hitchhiking to Dhauli

In the novel “The Alchemist”, Brazilian Novelist Paulo Coelho said “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

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Dhauli War Monument

In my previous post I told you the story of My solo trip to Bhubaneswar. I had ample time after visiting the Rajarani Temple and thus decided to visit Dhauli. It was almost 9.30 am of a winter morning. I came back hotel, had breakfast and asked the manager of the hotel about the cheapest way to reach Dhauli.

“Travelling Dhauli for a solo traveler is quite expensive”, the manager of the hotel discouraged me, “People either go via car or reserved auto rickshaw and the auto rickshaw will take at least 600 bucks and there is no public transport in that route.”

I opened GPRS. Google Map showed me the distance of Dhauli is not more than 9.9 kilometres from Ravi Talkies Chowk. As I am a trekker, 9.9 kilometres in plain land is nothing to me. To be very honest, the discouragement of the hotel manager whetted my desire to visit Dhauli.

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Map of Dhauli (Map Courtesy: Google Map)

“Kothi jibo?” (Where to go) A sudden question attracted me. It was from an auto rickshaw puller who asked for my destination. “Puri Highway Crossing” I replied. He agreed with 10 bucks. I boarded in his auto and started towards the highway. I knew the language Oriya a bit so tried to interact with him. He was going to Dhauli Temple to take his wife who went there to pray for their only child’s board exam. I requested him to drop me at Dhauli Ashokan Pillar. At the beginning he was a bit skeptical but at the end he asked for 50 bucks. It was okay for me and he took me to my destination.

Mouyan King Ashoka the Great was war monger in his early days. He conquered Kalinga (ancient name of Orissa) in 257 B.C. The death and destruction of Kalinga War impelled him very much. Repentant King decided to leave Hinduism and got attracted to Goutama Buddha who taught the lesson of peace and love. After getting converted to Buddhism he constructed a stone inscription and covered the inscription with a statue of elephant. Accroding to Buddhism, elephant symbolizes prophet Tathagata. Tathagata (Goutama Buddha) turned himself into a white elephant before going inside the womb of mother nature.

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Close View of Dhauli War Monument

King Ashoka’s legacy is nowadays inside an amusement park. Considering this stone inscription as one of the oldest one, Archaeological Survey of India maintains it. The original inscription is covered by glass. When I about to take a photograph of the stone but a Buddhist monk forbade me. I took the staircase beside to the glass room and went to the statue of the elephant.

Though the stone inscription was constructed by sandstone but the one metered high statue of the elephant was built on local “Swayambhu Stone”. Thus, unlike to other Mouryan architectures this monument is not so much polished. But the statue is so lively that the wisdom and credibility of the sculptor can be understood.

Dhauli is the grandfather of Kalinga Art.  Or in other words Dhauli was the ceremonial beging of Kalinga Art.

My next destination was the peace pagoda. It was just 300 meters far from the Ashokan Monument but this time I had to trek to the top of Dhaulagiri Hill. I had no issue to trek but suddenly a police van was coming on that way. I asked for lift. The old police man agreed and he took me to the peace pagoda.

Vishwa Shanti Stupa -Dhaula Giri:

On the top of Dhaulagiri Hill, a Viswa Shanti Stupa (World Peace Pagoda) was jointly built by the Japan Buddha Sangh and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangh in 1972.

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Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Dhauli

Like other peace pagoda, Dhaula Giri Shanti Stupa has the same structure. The stupa has the statues of prophet Tathagata in all four postures.

I loved the place so much that I spent ample time there. I just forgot that I had no personal or hired vehicle and it was about 10.2 kilometres away from the main city. I started coming back. After about 100 meters I got the noise of a car. It was a matador filled by Straw. I asked whether he could drop me to Bhubaneswar. Fortunately, the matador driver was going to Bhubaneswar and he allowed me to seat beside to him. I was asking her the fare that he wanted to charge. He did not agree to take anything from me. When I got down at Ravi Talkies, I offered him chocolate and cigarette. Initially he was reluctant to take them but finally he took to chocolates for his daughter and smoked the cigarette with me.

So, my hitchhiking to Dhauli was successful with a cost of 50 bucks – just one twelfth of the amount said by my hotel manager.

References:

  • Karutirtha Kalinga by Narayan Sanyal, Bharati Publications
  • Google Map

View Similar Post:

My solo trip to Bhubaneswar

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