Mansehra Rock Edicts

Mansehra Rock Edicts are fourteen edicts of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, inscribed on rocks in Mansehra in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The edicts are cut into three boulders and date back to 3rd century BC and they are written in the ancient Indic script of Gandhara culture, Kharosthi. The edicts mention aspects of Ashoka’s dharma.[1][2] The site was submitted for inclusion in the World Heritage Sites and is currently in the tentative list.

Mansehra Rock Edicts
Detail of the Upper Rock Inscription - Mansehra Rock Edicts.jpg
Detail of the upper rock inscription.
Mansehra Rock Edicts is located in Pakistan
Mansehra Rock Edicts
Shown within Pakistan
LocationMansehra, Mansehra District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Coordinates34°20′0″N 73°10′0″E / 34.33333°N 73.16667°E / 34.33333; 73.16667Coordinates: 34°20′0″N 73°10′0″E / 34.33333°N 73.16667°E / 34.33333; 73.16667
Site notes
WebsiteUNESCO World Heritage Sites tentative list
Edicts of Ashoka, the Mansehra Rock Edicts lie in the extreme north-west of the Mauryan Empire


The edicts are inscribed on an outcrop of a small rocky mountain outside the city of Mansehra in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The site is located near to the Karakoram Highway on the ancient Silk Route. The archeological city of Taxila is located in south and Abbottabad lies very near to the east of the site.[1]


Ashoka was dismayed by the destruction caused by his military during the conquest of Kalingas and in remorse later converted to Buddhism. Following his conversion, Ashoka visited sacred Buddhist locations throughout the Mauryan Empire and erected multiple pillars bearing his inscriptions of a new morality law. Mansehra Rock Edicts are one of the 33 inscriptions of Edicts of Ashoka describing expansion of Buddhism and his Law of Piety or dharma.[2]

The fourteen edicts contain text in the Kharosthi script which is an ancient script used in the Gandhara. The Kharoṣṭhi script was first deciphered by James Prinsep after which the Edicts of Ashoka in Kharosthi script were translated.[3]


Due to environmental degradation, the rocks are eroding and the script is fading rendering it unreadable.[2] To protect the site, Department of Archeology and Museum, Pakistan provided canopies to cover the rocks and shelter them from weather conditions.[4]

World Heritage SiteEdit

In 2004, the site was submitted for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites by Department of Archaeology and Museums, Pakistan. It was submitted in the Cultural criteria ii, iii, and vi.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Mansehra Rock Edicts". World Heritage Centre. UNESCO. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Ashoka Rocks". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  3. ^ Cunningham, A (1877). Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum. Volume 1. Inscriptions of Aśoka. Calcutta: Government of India.
  4. ^ "Call to protect eroding rock edicts of Ashoka". Dawn News. Retrieved 28 August 2012.

External linksEdit

  • Gandhari - complete script of the fourteen edicts
Edicts of Ashoka
(Ruled 269–232 BCE)
Regnal years
of Ashoka
Type of Edict
(and location of the inscriptions)
Geographical location
Year 8 End of the Kalinga war and conversion to the "Dharma"
Year 10[1] Minor Rock Edicts Related events:
Visit to the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya
Construction of the Mahabodhi Temple and Diamond throne in Bodh Gaya
Predication throughout India.
Dissenssions in the Sangha
Third Buddhist Council
In Indian language: Sohgaura inscription
Erection of the Pillars of Ashoka
Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription
(in Greek and Aramaic, Kandahar)
Minor Rock Edicts in Aramaic:
Laghman Inscription, Taxila inscription
Year 11 and later Minor Rock Edicts (n°1, n°2 and n°3)
(Panguraria, Maski, Palkigundu and Gavimath, Bahapur/Srinivaspuri, Bairat, Ahraura, Gujarra, Sasaram, Rajula Mandagiri, Yerragudi, Udegolam, Nittur, Brahmagiri, Siddapur, Jatinga-Rameshwara)
Year 12 and later[1] Barabar Caves inscriptions Major Rock Edicts
Minor Pillar Edicts Major Rock Edicts in Greek: Edicts n°12-13 (Kandahar)

Major Rock Edicts in Indian language:
Edicts No.1 ~ No.14
(in Kharoshthi script: Shahbazgarhi, Mansehra Edicts
(in Brahmi script: Kalsi, Girnar, Sopara, Sannati, Yerragudi, Delhi Edicts)
Major Rock Edicts 1-10, 14, Separate Edicts 1&2:
(Dhauli, Jaugada)
Schism Edict, Queen's Edict
(Sarnath Sanchi Allahabad)
Lumbini inscription, Nigali Sagar inscription
Year 26, 27
and later[1]
Major Pillar Edicts
In Indian language:
Major Pillar Edicts No.1 ~ No.7
(Allahabad pillar Delhi pillar Topra Kalan Rampurva Lauria Nandangarh Lauriya-Araraj Amaravati)

Derived inscriptions in Aramaic, on rock:
Kandahar, Edict No.7[2][3] and Pul-i-Darunteh, Edict No.5 or No.7[4]

  1. ^ a b c Yailenko,Les maximes delphiques d'Aï Khanoum et la formation de la doctrine du dhamma d'Asoka, 1990, p. 243.
  2. ^ Inscriptions of Asoka de D.C. Sircar p. 30
  3. ^ Handbuch der Orientalistik de Kurt A. Behrendt p. 39
  4. ^ Handbuch der Orientalistik de Kurt A. Behrendt p. 39