India as a massive and magnificent nation was the site of the most unforgettable battles in history, one of which was the bloody Kalinga War in 261 BC.
Kalinga was a kingdom in central-eastern India, which comprised most of the modern state of Orissa, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It was established on 1 April 1936 as a province in British India, and consists, predominantly of Oriya language speakers It was a rich and fertile land that extended from the river Damodar to Godavari This region was scene of the bloody Kalinga War.
The Magadha Army was a mighty force of the Mauryan Empire , ruled by the Mauryan dynasty, was geographically extensive, great power, and a political military empire in history of India.
Stretching from the north along the Himalayas, to the East of Assam, and onwards to Pakistan, Balochistan and the old Afghanistan, the vastness of its reach only stopped in the small yet rich kingdom called Kalinga (located in the present-day Indian state of Ornissa), which remained independent from the Mauryan rule under King Chandragupta and his son, Emperor Bindusara.
Complete domination of Kalinga had always been the crusade of these two rulers, but they failed to conquer it due to the patriotic Kalinga people who valued their freedom and ready to defend it anytime. As such, the fervor to invade Kalinga passed on to Ashoka, son of Bindusara who died in 272 BC.
On the eight year of Ashoka’s reign, the plot to conquer Kalinga commenced. At that time the king of Kalinga was Raja Anantha Padma Nabhan. The mighty Magadha Army with King Ashoka in the lead and thousands of cavalry and war animals after him swooped over the Kalinga warriors in Dhaili hill, site of the battle, trampling its village army of 60,000 soldiers, 1,000 cavalry and 700 elephants. Despite being outnumbered, the Kalingas fought with fervor, their valor ending in death.Ashoka was successful only after a savage war, whose consequences changed Ashoka's views on war and led him to pledge never to wage a war.
The Kalinga War claimed the lives of 100,000 Kalinga people, 10,000 men from Ashoka’s army, and hundreds of war elephants on the spot, not to mention an exhaustive damage to more lives and properties. It was said that the Daya River next to the battlefield flowed with the blood of thousands of dead warriors.
Ashoka's response to the Kalinga War is recorded in the Edicts of Ashoka. According to some of these (Rock Edict XIII and Minor Rock Edict I), the Kalinga War prompted Ashoka, already a non-engaged Buddhist, to devote the rest of his life to Ahimsa (non-violence) and to Dharma-Vijaya (victory through Dharma). Following the conquest of Kalinga, Ashoka ended the military expansion of the empire, and led the empire through more than 40 years of relative peace, harmony and prosperity.
(Source - Internet)