Following persistent efforts by the Buddhist Forum, the work on the setting up of replicas of the 14 Rock Edicts of Asoka at Topra Kalan village has begun. The gram panchayat of Topra Kalan village, which is now associated with an ancient Buddhist site, conducted a bhumi pujan for the Asoka Edicts Park here today. Village sarpanch Ramkali said King Asoka had erected one of the edict pillars in the village, which was removed and shifted from here to New Delhi by Feroz Shah Tughlaq in the 14 century.
The bhumi pujan was attended by Additional Deputy Commissioner Satbir Saini and British Buddhist monk and author of the book “The Best to Catch a Snake” Karma Yeshe. The Buddhist Forum had recently joined hands with the local chapter of INTACH to restore the park at the village. INTACH’s district convener Major RS Bhatti, who also participated in the pujan, said the project would be completed with the assistance of experts of the IIT-Roorkee.
President of the forum Sidhartha Gauri said the representatives of the forum had travelled across India and even neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan to collect more information about Ashoka and his edicts.
Saini said the district administration had set aside Rs 9,08,865 under the MGNREGA for the first phase of land development at the park site. He also lauded the efforts put in by the local gram panchyat and the Buddhist Forum.Yeshe said the work on the park would be a revolutionary step that would put the village on the world map.
The park is proposed to be built in 10 acres of land which will showcase the pillars and rock edicts erected by Asoka which now stand scattered in Asian countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.Sidhartha Gauri said no such park had been established in the country or abroad and thus it would help in reviving the rich heritage of the country.