Driving down from Dehradun towards the hill-station of Chakrata in the new state of Uttaranchal, as you get close to the hills you will pass a small village named Kalsi...
If you are driving down from Dehradun towards the hill-station of Chakrata in the new state of Uttaranchal, as you get close to the hills you will pass a small village named Kalsi. There is a cluster of shops on the main road. Ask the shopkeepers where the "old rock" is, and they will give you directions. A small path winds downwards into the village, past a few small houses. Suddenly, you will find yourself on the banks of the Yamuna river, behind which you will see the mountains rise into the sky. Close to the river is a covered shade, and inside the shed is huge rock, about 10 ft long, 10 ft wide and 8 ft thick at the base. The rock has a lot of things written over it, in a writing that you will not be able to read, no matter how hard you try. What does it say? Who was responsible for having this inscription inscribed here? The Kalsi rock has on it a set of 14 edicts or inscriptions of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka who ruled from 269-232 B.C.. The writing is known as Prakrit.
Ashoka inherited a very large empire from his father Chandragupta. It stretched up to Afghanistan in the north and included most of southern India. Ashoka fought only one war. This was the war against Kalinga in Orissa. Ashoka won the war, but he was horrified by the death and destruction that he had caused. We know that at some point of time Ashoka became a devoted follower of the Buddha's teaching. One of the things that the Buddha taught people was that they should not harm any living thing. So it is not surprising that Ashoka started feeling so strongly against violence and war.
Ashoka had some very definite ideas about the way people should live their lives, and he wanted to try to spread these ideas to his people. He decided to have inscriptions talked about 'dhamma,' that is how people could lead a good life. They talked about things like honesty, simplicity, generosity, and kindness to people and animals. There are many inscriptions of ancient kings from many parts of the world. Many of them describe the conquests and victories of these kings. Ashoka is the only king in the world who does not boast about such things in his inscriptions. In fact he describes was as a terrible thing, so something that causes sorrow to countless people. This is what makes Ashoka and his inscriptions special.
Why were the Ashoka inscriptions inscribed in the particular places they were inscribed?
Ashoka must have wanted people to stop, see and read his inscriptions or to have them read out to them. The inscriptions were inscribed on rocks and pillars at places along the important trade routes and pilgrimage routes. Some of them were inscribed near Buddhist monasteries. We don't know exactly how many rock or pillar inscriptions there originally were, because some of them must have got destroyed over time. Others may still be discovered.
Kalsi is located on the banks of the Yamuna river, near the place where the Yamuna meets the Tons river. It lies on the route that leads to Jamnotri, the place from where the Yamuna river emerges from the mountains. This is an old pilgrim route, and many pilgrims must have moved along this route in ancient times. We can imagine some of them pausing at the Kalsi rock, perhaps to take a rest on their long, tiring journey. Those who knew how to read would have read Ashoka's inscriptions, and perhaps read them out to their companions.
There are a few other clues that help us understand the location of the Ashokan rock edits at Kalsi. A number of interesting things were found in the area around the rock. Broken pieces of pillars and railings showed that there used to be some old buildings here. Some sculptures and pieces of pottery were also found. This discoveries show that there was a settlement here long ago, probably at the time to which the inscriptions belong.
We should remember that not many of Ashoka's subjects would have known how to read. Ashoka made a lot of effort to try to spread his ideas by making his officials go around the countryside and talking to people. He introduced a special group of officials whose job it was to travel around the empire spreading the teaching of dhamma. Ashoka himself toured the country to spread his message as well.
On the opposite side of the river from Kalsi, just a little further down, is a very different kind of ancient site. There is place called Jagatgram in the middle of a thick orchard of mango trees. From here too you can see the river and mountains beyond it. Archaeologists sis an excavation at Jagatgram, and discovered a lot of bricks arranged in a strange way. They also found some inscriptions that said that a king named Shilavarman had performed several ashvamedha sacrifices at this place. The ashvamedha or the horse sacrifice was a ceremony performed by some ancient kings to show their power. The writing of the inscriptions belongs to the 3rd century A.D..
Just think of the strange coincidence! On one side of the Yamuna river at Kalsi is Ashoka's message of place and gentleness. On the other side of the river at Jagatgram is the place where Shilavarman celebrated his military victories. There is another difference - Ashoka is still famous for what he believed in, while very few people today have ever heard of Shilavarman.
Asan Barrage, Ashokan Rock Edict, Dak Pathar, Katta Pathar, Paonta Sahib, River Rafting, Timli Pass, Vikasnagar
Asan Barrage [22 km from Kalsi]
Asan Barrage is the far-familiar and exciting attraction situated in Dehradun is familiarly known for the Dhalipur Lake. This lake was organized during 1967 at the conflux of the Yamuna and Asan River via Dhaipur power house. If you are an ardent bird watcher, then you must have to visit Asan Barrage. This place is an excellent destination to spend time in bird watching. Moreover, the area has developed an exciting water sporting resort during the year 1994, by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam. Above all, Asan Barrage holds an excellent and breathe-taking landscape that grabs the attention of most tourists all around the world.
Ashokan Rock Edict
Asoka is one of the most far-famed and greatest emperors of India! The huge exemplars and ideals of the emperor and his lifetime values and way of living are extolled in the shape of rock rescripts all around North India. The well renowned and longstanding Ashokan rock edicts essentially holds the assortment and group of thirty-three epigraphs, which are chipped and carven on the Pillars of Asoka in addition to the big rocks, caves, etc. Moreover, this Asoka rock depicts a complete spread out of Buddhism and meanwhile many Buddhist memorials and temples were built during this period with intent to encourage serene religious conviction.
Dak Pathar [20 km from Kalsi]
Dak Pathar is one of the excellent and mind-blowing tourism spot that has to be visited while taking a trip to Dehradun. The Dak Pathar is situated some 45 kilometers away from Dehradun and this is considered to be the most prominent tourism spot. This is the excellent visit taking spot in the western Doon valley in the mid of the sivalik range. This area exists with luxuriant and plush green fields and blossoming gardens. Tourist can easily travel and reach the destination as they can avail regular bus facilities to this place. Moreover, accommodation here is really very simple and you can choose your choice of living place.
Katta Pathar is the prominent and striking attraction situated in Kalsi. This is a pleasing village that grabs the attention of the visitors. The place is incredibly breathe taking and people can a take a leisure walk and can even take a trail run in the pathways of Katta Pathar Village. The village acquires its name from a now extinct iron mine. People taking a trip to Kalsa will definitely take a trip to Katta Pathar and spend an enjoying time with their near and dears. Moreover, the place is really awesome, where you can have great fun and excellent pass time.
Paonta Sahib [27 km from Kalsi]
Paonta Sahib is a little town which is situated to the south of Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh, India. The Paonta Sahib is a very important and significant religious spot which is being worshipped by the Sikhs. Also, the city will be busy all the time and it is an active industrial town. The famous pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy Pvt ltd is situated in this town. Along with, some famous cement, textiles, chemical industry and spinning mills give their effective functionality in this town. Climate in Paonta Sahib is really good and they have a sub tropical continental monsoon. Summer here is a bit hot and winter is slightly chill. Tourist can enjoy the place and visit to this destination.
The most excellent and striking attraction of Kalsi is the river rafting. Most individuals give their closest attention to river raft the Yamuna River and they also spend good time in taking part in the openings. This is a chronological and ethnical embarking from the region of Mussorie. The average trek will be a maximum of 13 kilometers a day and the maximum height that could be trekked at is 9500 feet. If you are planning to take a visit to the place, then you can preferably plan your trip during October to May. This attraction will be really wonderful and individuals can have an enjoyable time with their near and dears.
Tourists can find an excellent time in Timli Pass while taking their trip to Kalsi. This place is really excellent and fun taking where most of the individuals find a best time of their trip. While traveling to Asan Barrage individuals will take a returning drive to Kalsi through the quiet grassy Timli Pass. This is an excellent and far-famed place, where the columns of British soldiers moved to give their support to Major General. This is one of the prominent and significant attractions, which is being visited by quite number of tourists all around the year. Never miss to take a visit to the place, while you plan your trip to Kalsi.
Vikasnagar [10 km from Kalsi]
Vikasnagar is another striking attraction situated in the district of Dehradun of Uttarkhand, India. This place is a city and a municipality which holds an overall population of 12,485 individuals. If you plan to take a trip to the place, it is merely very simple to visit them! Transportation facility to this destination is easy accessible and people can reach the place through an easy travel. Moreover, tourists never need to worry about the accommodation facilities of the place! You can avail their choice of rooms that gives them the maximum comfort. Tourists can spend a relaxing time with their friends and family people and can thereby make the trip a memorable one.
By Road: At a distance of about 285 kilometers away from Delhi.