Why Did Ashoka Attack Kalinga?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

Ashoka attacked Kalinga in order to expand the Mauryan Empire. Ashoka and his empire followed an expansionist policy and Kalinga had a sound geographical location with trade routes leading to Southeast Asia. Ashoka, thus conquered the empire of Kalinga to bring it under the Mauryan Empire in 262 BC.

Attack of Ashoka on Kalinga

Due to its advantageous location, Ashoka attacked Kalinga, which is modern-day Odisha. It had a strong navy, a number of significant ports, and a strategic location near trade routes to Southeast Asia. Due to Ashoka’s expansionist policies, Kalinga was the only independent kingdom that was not a part of the Mauryan Empire at the time.

  • As a result, Ashoka attacked the Kingdom of Kalinga, led by Raja Ananta Padmanabha, under the direction of his guru, Chanakya.
  • The Battle of Kalinga was one of the bloodiest battles ever fought in the Indian subcontinent and had a profound effect on Ashoka.
  • The Battle of Kalinga led Ashoka, a ‘would-be conqueror’ to give up his sword and follow the path of ahimsa (non-violence) and to dharma-Vijaya (victory through dharma).

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