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Famous India > Famous India People > Emperor Ashoka
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Emperor Ashoka

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The great Indian emperor, Ashoka, was born in 265 B.C. The grandson of the great Changragupta Maurya, Ashoka ruled over an empire that covered two-thirds of the Indian continent. He was the most famous of the Mauryan kings and was one of the greatest Hindu rulers of India, who later got embraced Buddhism.

The capital of the Ashoka's Empire was located in the city of Pataliputra (now known as Patna, the capital of Bihar in the eastern region of India).

A very brave ruler and a good administrator, Emperor Ashoka was the younger son of the King Bindusara and was given the throne soon after the kings death because he was loved and respected by his subjects and by his ministers. His grandfather, Chandragupta, had set out to conquer the weaker kingdoms around his kingdom to expand the territory of his people in 324 BCE, and was the first to rule over a unified India. Ashoka's father, Bindusara, established a reign much the same as his father's, controlling a larger kingdom than ever before known. It was in 268 BCE, when Ashoka was crowned the king of Magadha.

The Turning Point
After 8 years of his rule, King Ashoka decided to annex Kalinga (Orissa) into his kingdom. This was the first and last battle that Ashoka ever fought. Though Ashoka won the battle he was horrified by the loss of life and death of so many soldiers.

This incidence changed him and it was then he pledged that he would never wage war again. He embraced Buddhism, and he promised to practice only righteous actions in the future. Under the guidance of many Buddhist gurus of the Buddhist community, Ashoka began to be like an ideal leader, spreading peace & prosperity within society. He religiously followed the principles of Buddhism - that of truth, charity, kindness, purity and goodness.

A firm believer of non-violence, King Ashoka banned the sacrifice of animals and asked his followers to take the path of virtuous action. Besides all these, he opened clinics for birds and animals too. It was his good works, which earned him the name of Devanamapriya Priyadarshi.
During the rule of Ashoka, India reached achieved numerous heights in the history of the world.

Baga Beach

Baga Beach

Baga Beach Ashoka & Buddhism
King Ashoka also started propagating Buddhism by engraving it's principles on pillars throughout his kingdom. The several feet high extremely heavy Ashokan pillars located at several places in India, are some of the finest examples of ancient India art forms. During his tenure, King Ashoka tried to spread Buddhism to Syria, Egypt and Macedonia, and sent his son Mahindra and daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka for this purpose and he succeed to a large extent. Ashoka's contribution in spreading Buddhism around the world is enormous, the result of which is quite visible in the modern India.

King Ashoka (also known as - Ashoka the Great) died in 232 BC, but continues to be the part of the great history of India and respected amongst the greatest rulers of the Indian Subcontinent.

Few Unknown Facts
The national emblem of India has been taken from the Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath.

The wheel, which represents kingship and earthly rule, is featured on the Indian flag.

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