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Mansehra Rock Edicts

Date of Submission: 30/01/2004
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Department of Archaeology and Museums
Coordinates: 34°20’ E 73°10’ N Mansehra, District Hazara, North West Frontier Province
Ref.: 1881

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The Mansehra rock edicts are cut into the surface of three large boulders on the side of a rocky outcrop close to the city of Mansehra. They record fourteen edicts of the Mauryan emperor, Asoka (r. c. 272-235 BC) and represent the earliest irrefutable evidence of writing in South Asia. Dating to middle of the third Century BC, they are written from right to left in the Kharosthi script. The presence of Kharosthi suggests that the influence of Achaemenid rule in this region, the province of Gandhara, outlived the short Alexandrian interlude of the fourth century BC. The fourteen major edicts recorded at the site present aspects of Asoka’s dharma or righteous law. The edicts are located besides one of the ancient routes connecting the Vale of Peshawar to the regions for Kashmir, Gilgit and Central Asia in the north and to the great city of Taxila in the south.