Ashoka also known as “Ashoka the great” was one of the greatest emperors of India. He was the third king of the Maurya Dynasty. He ruled India from 269 BCE to 232 BCE.
ashoka's empire map
Ashoka's empire

  • The meaning of Ashoka in Sanskrit is ‘without sorrow’. He was also called Samraat Chakravartin (emperor of emperors), Devānāmpriya (the beloved of god), Priyadarśin (He who regards everyone with affection).
  • He was born around 304 BCE in Patliputra, Patna.
  • He was the son of king Bindusara and Maharani Dharma. His grandfather was the founder of Maurya Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya.
  • Ashoka had many brothers ready to take the throne after the death of Bindusara. But Ashoka becomes the king with the help of a minister Radhagupta. There is a story that Ashoka killed his 99 brothers leaving only one brother Tissa to become the king.
  • In the early life as an emperor he engaged in war with different states. He was very short tempered person. At that time he was called ‘Chandaashoka’, which means "Ashoka the Fierce".
  • The war of Kalinga (BC 261) was the turning point of his life. The mass death of the war changed his mind and he became a follower of Buddhism.
  • He made Buddhism his state religion. Later he was appointed as ‘Dharma Mahapatro’ to propagate Buddhism all over Asia. He sent his son Mahinda and daughter Sanghamitra to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for spreading Buddhism.
  • He build lion stambh’s to spread Buddhism, these stambh’s are now called Ashok Stambh. Ashok Stambh of sarnath was adopted as national emblem of India.
  • Besides ashok stambh, Ashoka had build many constructions-Dhamek Stupa ( Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh), Bharhut stupa ( Madhya Pradesh), Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar).
  • He died in the year 232 BCE.

Quick Facts About King Ashoka

Name: Ashoka
Birth year: 304 BCE, at Patliputra
Family:
Father: Bindusara;
Mother: Maharani Dharma or Shubhadrangi;
Wifes: Kaurwaki Devi,Padmavati,Tishyaraksha
Children: Mahendra, Sanghamitra, Tivala, Kunala, Jaluka, Charumati;
AKA: Samraat Chakravartin (emperor of emperors), Devānāmpriya (the beloved of god), Priyadarśin (He who regards everyone with affection).
Empire: From the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan to Bangladesh and From Assam in the east, to  Kerala and Andhra Pradesh in south.
Reign: 268–232 BCE (about 36 Years)
Died at:  232 BCE (aged 72)

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