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Ashoka Edict (8th Jan 2015) : The Archeological survey of India is all set to conduct repair works at the ancient Ashokan rock edict located on the banks of the Yamuna at Kalsi in Dehradun district. According to the agency, the edict is the only such inspiration by emperor Ashoka in the entire central Himalayan region. “The Ashokan edict is unique to this part of Himalayas. Key repairs and beautification works like the construction of grills and the boundary walls will be carried out at the site soon,” said conservation assistance of ASI, which has seven monuments in the Dehradun and Uttarakashi districts under its jurisdiction.

Besides the edict, the ASI will also conduct repair works at the Kalinga monument in Dehradun and at Dronasagar in the Udham Singh Nagar district. Regional tourism officer said that the Uttarakhand government is making concentrated effort to popularise the ancient historical site, which is located very close to the state capital. “The place has a great potential to be a favourite haunt of historians, students and tourists in general. We have written to the ASI to let us develop more basic services for visitors in the vicinity so that the tourism can be given a boost to this important site,” he said.

Locals agree, feeling that the nondescript hill town needs to be developed adequately. “It is a pity that despite having a historical and heritage site of national importance, Kalsi has failed to be on the development spotlight of the government,” said a local restaurant owner. Located at around 50 km from Dehradun, the Ashokan Edict, which has a set of 14 prescriptive and the restrictive policies fixed by the Mauryan emperor, was brought to light in 1860 by john Forest. It represents the post-warfare era of Ashoka, when he converted to Buddhism and began following the path of peace.

The site of Ashoka’s inscription at Kalsi is written in the Brahmi script and its language is Pali. According to the ASI, the edict reflects the emperor’s humane approach in his internal administration, his “fatherly concern” for the moral and spiritual welfare of his subject, and his commitment to non-violence and abandonment of warfares.

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 The Char Dhams of Uttarakhand