The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has joined hands with the Yamunanagar-based Buddhist Forum to establish replicas of the Ashoka Rock Edicts at Topra Kalan village in Radour the district.
The park would have replicas of the 14 Rock Edicts of Ashoka, which are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the ‘Pillars of Ashoka’ as well as boulders and cave walls which had come up during the reign of the Mauryan king from 269 BC to 231 BC.
These inscriptions are dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan and represent the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. The two sites at Mansehra and Shahbazgarhi in Pakistan were declared world heritage sites by UNESCO in 2004 after the Pakistan government took up the matter with the world body.
Sidharth Gauri, president of the Buddhist Forum, said the inscriptions found in the eastern part of country were written in the Magadhi language, using the Brahmi script, while those in the western part of the country were written in Sanskrit and the 13th Edict was written in the Greek language.
The forum is assisting the gram panchayat of Topra Kalan village in Radaur segment of Yamunanagar district in establishing the Edict Park at a site where King Ashoka had erected one of the ‘Edict Pillars’.
This pillar was removed and shifted to New Delhi by Feroz Shah Tughlaq in the 14 century. Now, this pillar stands in Kotla in the national capital.
Gauri said the village was a known centre for the followers of Lord Buddha and thus the local panchayat and the forum had decided to promote it internationally.
It was only after the forum along with the convener of INTACH’s Yamunanagar chapter Major R S Bhatti put up a presentation before the chairman of the INTACH that the INTACH offered to provide all the logistic support for setting up the park. He suggested that the park should be linked with the tourist circuit of the area in order to ensure holistic development of the area. Besides, linking the study-cum-meditation centre of the park with a related institution was also being undertaken. He said the forum had got in touch with experts from Nalanda University for the development of education concept at the park.