Why Did Ashoka Attack Kalinga?

By Balaji

Updated on: February 17th, 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.

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  • 1. Attack of Ashoka on Kalinga (more)

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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