The Kalinga War is a subject that attracts many students, researchers, academicians, and heritage enthusiasts worldwide. This war changed India's entire system, whether political, religious, social, or economic.

On August 4th, 2005, The Hindu, a national newspaper, published a report by Mr. Prafulla Das. The topic was Stupas and inscriptions indicating Lord Buddha's visit to Kalinga.

  • This news almost confirms that Lord Buddha visited Odisha or the erstwhile Kalinga. Even the famous Chinese traveler, Hieun Tsang, wrote that Lord Buddha visited the region where Ashoka constructed ten stupas. The report also mentioned excavations in Radhanagar, where several inscriptions were found, mentioning Toshali Nagar. I wrote an extensive blog on Radhanagar titled "Radhanagar - The capital of Kalinga?"
  • The same newspaper also mentioned that the current excavation and survey indicated that the war might have been fought at Yudha Meruda, which is under the Korei block near Dharmasala. However, the excavation report of Yudha Meruda was not found, and even during my visit to the site, the excavated site was not found. As per some residents of Beruda (now known as Beruda village), excavation took place at the site in 2005. Based on these reports and my site visit, I created a story. The story goes like this: Asoka came to Kalinga through the land route, not from the sea route. Also, there was no fully developed city between the border of Magadh and Kalinga until he reached Radhanagar. He had a brutal war on the banks of the river Brahmani. Since Yuddha Meruda is not far from Radhanagar, it opens a new door in the history of Kalinga. Anyways, he won the war, and Radhanagar city was almost destroyed. After that, Asoka made his younger brother Tissa the king of Kalinga, and the coronation of Tissa took place on the hills of Suravagiri.

Observations in Jajpur:

The above story is a small summary of my findings. But when we look at the broader picture, we can observe the following:

  • Yuddha Meruda has a vast expanse of land on the bank of the Brahmani, which seems to fit the descriptions of the battle.
  • Radhanagar was a fortified city spread over an area of 9,02,500 square meters, enclosed by a mud fortification.
  • Suravagiri hills were described as scented hills, full of scented flowers.
  • On the foothills of Kayama, there was a rock-cut elephant supposedly built by Tissa. Also, there is a rock-cut bench on which the name of Tissa is inscribed.
  • A pendant found in Radhanagar has "Tissa" inscribed on one side.
  • Yudha Meruda, Radhanagar, and Kayama hill provide clear evidence regarding the lost history of the Kalinga war. "The unearthing of several inscriptions and other corroborative evidence proves that Radhanagar was the capital city of Tosali," Mr. Debraj Pradhan said. A senior ASI expert has deciphered the inscriptions as "Tosali Nagara," "Tosali Nagar," and "Tosali," and they are datable to the third and second century B.C.

Observations in Bhubaneswar:

  • Now, where are Dhauli, Daya, and Sishupalgarh? Some experts say it was all fabricated. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Sishupalgarh is also a very interesting place. Our historians have identified this place with Toshali and Kalinga Nagara, which was the famous capital city of King Kharavela. The Hati Gumpha (Elephant Cave) inscription of Udayagiri in Bhubaneswar points to this fact. Sishupalgarh had a well-known defense system, and according to historical documents, it was the first fortified city of that time in the entire world. Excavations were carried out in two phases in Sishupalgarh, the first by Mr. B.B. Lal in 1949 and the second by Mr. R.K. Mohanty and Ms. Monica Smith in 2005–2008. Lots of potteries and ear ornaments were found.
  • On the foothills of Dhauli, there is a rock-cut elephant, but only the foremost part is projected, whereas in Kayama, we can find the full image of the elephant. Ashoka chose this place to write inscriptions. However, the interesting thing in these inscriptions is that there was no mention of grief and regression. No inscriptions were found mentioning Tissa or Toshali Nagar or the Kalinga War. Mr. N.K. Sahu was present during the excavations that took place in 1949 by ASI at Dhauli, the site very close to the Asokan inscription. He saw that a trench laid in the close vicinity of the Asokan inscription exposed a thick wall made of rubber and mud mortar, similar to the walls of the new Rajagriha at Rajgir. The trench also yielded some terracotta snakes and multi-spouted vessels. Unfortunately, no report of this excavation is available.

Causes of War:

What were the causes of war? What prompted Asoka, who ruled almost the entire nation at that time, to attack a tiny state? Some of the causes are as follows:

  • Kalinga was under the Nandas, and when the Mauryans took over Magadh, Kalinga declared herself independent. According to some beliefs, Chandragupta Maurya and Bindusar Maurya tried to capture Kalinga, but they failed. Therefore, it was a dream for Asoka Maurya to conquer this land. Hence, he attacked Kalinga.
  • According to some beliefs, during that time, Kalinga was predominantly a Jain state. We all know how Asoka treated the Jains as he considered them his number one enemy. Therefore, he attacked Kalinga only to massacre the Jains and impose Buddhism on the state. However, in this case, we have clear evidence that Buddhism was in the flourishing stage before the war. The Buddhist texts say that the Kesa stupa is the earliest. Two pillars discovered at the site carry the inscriptions 'Kesa Thupa' and 'Bheku Tapusa Danam.' Tapassu and Bhalluka were the two merchants who built Buddhist stupas at Tarapur and Deuli, respectively, and these were contemporary to Buddha. Also, there are remains of an Apsidal chaitya in Radhanagar. So Buddhism was never imposed on the Kalingans.
  • According to some beliefs, Kalingans were followers of Hinayana Buddhism, and the Magadh patronised Mahayana Buddhism. So it may have been a battle within the same fold just to prove the supremacy of Mahayana over Hinayana.
  • According to some beliefs, as Kalinga was a maritime superpower, Asoka attacked them just to capture the various ports so that he could start his maritime expansions.
  • According to some beliefs, the war happened just to get the 9 books of Wisdom. These books were with Kalinga and were kept in monasteries in Langudi hills and Dhauli hills. Therefore, these two monasteries and these two hills were the targets. After conquering Kalinga, Asoka took these 9 books and formed a secret society.

Whatever it may be, till now, there is no concrete proof or evidence that can conclude why Asoka attacked Kalinga.


We cannot neglect the facts of either Jajpur or Bhubaneswar. It is possible that the war initially started in Radhanagar (Yudha Meruda) and later spread to Sishupalgarh. Asoka had already converted to Buddhism long before the Kalinga War, so it is not a fact that he changed himself and adopted Buddhism after the war. Therefore, we need a series of excavations in both Jajpur and Bhubaneswar to uncover more information.

REFERENCES:Various Sources

IMAGE REFERENCES:The photos uploaded to the website are collected from various internet sources. ODISHA Tales doesn't own any photos.Thanks to Everyone who clicked these photos.

DISCLAIMER:Testimonials appearing on this site are actually received via text, audio, video submission and some are translated by volunteers. They are individual experiences, reflecting real life experiences of those who have used the website to bring the information for public view. However, there are individual and subgroup findings and that may vary. We are open to receive your input to improve our website. ODISHA Tales is humbled to host the contents. However, respective authors retain the copyright of their own articles. ODISHA Tales bears no responsibility regarding the copyright claims.
Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form