Edicts of King Asoka – a window to the shape of Buddhist government -engraved on rocks and pillars all over the Indian sub-continent will be showcased in one place in a village of Yamunanagar district. The Asoka Edicts Park, to come up in Topra Kalan, 20 km from the district headquarters, will house replicas of decrees passed by the Mauryan dynasty’s third emperor.
“In the first phase, we have planned to build the Asoka Pillar and Asoka’s idol. It will be the first-ever attempt to build a life-size sculpture of Asoka made anywhere in the past 2,300 years,” said The Buddhist Forum (TBF) chief patron Siddhartha Gauri, who has proposed to setup the park. The sculpture will be based on the Asoka’s portrait recovered from Katnagahalli, Karnataka. The sculpture will showcase King Asoka giving Dhammachakra to the world, which was a symbolic representation of Buddha, his teachings and morality.
The park has a Chandigarh connect to it. Ekta Yadav and Prerna Saini of the Chandigarh College of Architecture have prepared the master plan of the park, while students of the Government College of Arts, Chandigarh, have assured to work on the project for free. Convinced by Yamunanagar based TBF’s idea of promoting rural tourism in the area, the Topra panchayat has unanimously donated 2 acre of village common land to build the historical park. “Nearly 40 villages of Radaur and Yamunanagar-based philanthropists have assured financial support for the first phase that will cost Rs 10 lakh. As we have limited resources, we seek assistance from local MP Naveen Jindal and corporate houses,” Gauri said.
About 2,300 years ago, Topra was an important place located on the ancient Mathura-Taxila trade route. It was considered to be a prime centre of trade and economic activities. “It is saddening to see that no sincere effort has been made to propagate Topra’s historical significance,” Gauri said. The Asoka Pillar was originally erected at Topra before it was dismantled and taken to Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi in the 14th century.
As per TBF’s survey, there are 312 sites, including those in Haryana and Punjab, associated with Buddhism in the country. Studies have revealed that Haryana remained an important place where Buddhism flourished.