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Ashok Edicts Junagadh

One of the most historically significant monuments from the time of Emperor Ashoka is the Ashoka Edicts. The Major Rock Edicts located in the town of Junaghad on the Saurashtra peninsula consist of 14 edicts inscribed on a rock. The large mass of black granite rock can be found on Girnar Hill or Girinagar, a collection of hills near the town of Junagadh. Girnar is among the oldest sacred places dating back to the Indus Valley civilization. The surface of the rock is etched with inscriptions in the Ashoka Brahmi script. Not many people are able to visit this monument due to poor accessibility. However, a few Jain pilgrims are able to make it to Girnar every year to marvel at the inscriptions.


Ashoka is one of the most prominent figures in world history even though not much was known about his rule until the discovery in the 19th century of numerous edicts inscribed on rocks and pillars. Many of his edicts are spread across Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The Major Rock Edict is one of the most impressive inscriptions that feature the ruler’s beliefs, perception of moral behavior and even the design of irrigation systems. Although they do not portray much about his personal life they do contain practical instructions on the running of a kingdom.

The inscriptions are in Prakrit, a Middle Indo-Aryan language derived from dialects of Old Indo-Aryan languages. They are the first written inscriptions in the post Harappan period. The Major Rock Edict is the only one that remains in its original state. Many of the other edicts were removed from their existing location to other official sites. The rock edict of Ashoka at Kalsi in Vikas Nagar in Dehradun District of Uttranchal is among the few edicts found in its original state.

Edicts Orders

The inscriptions are among the most inspiring that even pertain to modern life. Among the major proclamations are the abolition of human sacrifice and the arranging of useless festivities and gatherings. It also instructs government servants to perform their duties with integrity. For the benefit of his subjects, the inscriptions also include the set up of proper medical facilities for humans and animals as well. Everyone is to be provided unlimited access to the king while Dharma Mahamantris were assigned the responsibility to enforce the edicts.

In accordance with Ashoka’s spiritual views, all religions were instructed to live in harmony. The inscriptions also mandated a ban on hunting and superstitious rituals. Ashoka also appeals to his subjects through the edicts to refrain from corruption while every caste and creed was to be honored. It also lists religious acts and how individuals must treat and respect family, friends, and well wishers. For the most part, these edicts are proof of the benevolent nature of Ashoka, his attitude towards his subjects and overall perspective on life.

Best Time to Visit

October to April is the best time to visit Junagadh and make a trip to Ashoka’s Major Rock Edicts. If you happen to be in the region during January or February it would be prudent to join the celebrations at the Bhavnath Fair. This is one of the oldest fairs held in honor of Lord Shiva. There are free meals served in addition to special stalls that sell artifacts from Ayodhya and Matghura and a variety of sweets.

How to Reach Junagarh

By Road

Gujarat State Transport buses are the best source to get to Junagadh. Buses ply from all the major cities which include Rajkot which is 102km from the city followed by Porbandar and Ahmedabad. Buses ply frequently and is the most economical option. Alternatviely, you can hire a tourist taxi.

By Rail

Junagadh is well linked by rail with Ahmedabad being a mere 7.5 hours away. There are two express trains that ply on the Ahmedabad-Veraval line, one during the day and one at night. You can easily reach Girnar by bus after a train journey up to Junagadh.

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Ashok Edicts Junagadh
Ashok Edicts Junagadh
Ashok Edicts Junagadh
Ashok Edicts Junagadh
Ashok Edicts Junagadh
Ashok Edicts Junagadh

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