One of the important Buddhist destinations in India, Dhauli Hill is situated near Daya River, in the Khurda district of Orissa. It lies at a distance of approximately 8 km from the city of Bhubaneshwar. Dhauli hill holds the distinction of being the place where Emperor Ashoka renounced war and embraced Buddhism. The edicts of Ashoka, preserved here, serve as the perfect proof of the change of his heart. In his edicts, he has asked his administrators to govern with fairness and empathy. On the top of the rock edicts stands a chiseled elephant, the universal symbol of Lord Buddha.
Dhauli Hills, sited in India, also boast of a Shanti Stupa (the peace pagoda), situated on the opposite hill. Built through the Indo-Japanese collaboration, it has interesting legend attached to it. Japanese believe that almost seven centuries ago Mahatma Nichiren Imaha Bhikshu predicted that Fuji Guruji, the chief priest of Nipponzan Myohoji would come to India in 1930 from Mt. Minobu, the original holy place of the Nichiren sect. The prophecy came true, he came to India and got the Shanti Stupa built.
A round edifice, the stupa is domed on top with mushroom-like structures. 'Speaking' stone panels, adorn the Shanti Stupa. The main stone panels comprise of the reclining Buddha, an elephant procession, the bodhi tree, footprints of Buddha bearing the chakra (wheel), a sleeping beauty fanned by female attendants, procession on horse back, and Emperor Ashoka renouncing war by offering his sword to Lord Buddha at Dhaulagiri Hill.
The other major attractions of Dhauli Hill include Saddharma Vihar monastery, the ancient sculptures and the some very extraordinary art forms. Then, there are rock cut caves and a number of small Hindu temples, dating to the medieval age. Beautiful landscapes and scenic beauty of Dhauli further adds to its appeals.