The XIII Rock Edict of emperor Ashok of 3rd century B.C, found at Dhauli bears the testimony that at the 8th year of his reign ,he invaded the country of Kalinga.He confesses that after there commenced in his mind an ardent desire to practice the Dharma.It ushered a new era of spiritual imperialism devoured by love. The emperor then ceased ceased to be Chandasoka or Asoka –the merciless and become Dharmasoka or Asoka of Law and proclaimed himself to be Debanampriya priyadasi or Beloved of Gods who loves all. Mayuran emperor Asoka then took Dharmayatra” or “Tours of Piety” and had built 84,000 Buddhist monuments throughout the Empire along with the footsteps of Buddha. The Buddhist monuments are Stupa, Pillars, Chaityas, Monasteries and Rock- Cut Caves, dedicated for the masters of Buddhist world regarding interpretation of the cannons preached by Buddha. Theravadi monks visited Kalinga and stayed here to propagate Buddhism and educate the monks of Odisha. Asoka built a monastery for Theravadin Monk, Tissa, at Bhojakagiri. It is believed that a large number of Buddhist Stupas were built by the emperor Asoka in Kalinga to glorify Buddhism. The monumental remains of Asokan period are now coming to lime light. Descriptions are found about Kalinga, Odvisa, Utkala, Kosala, Odra in various Pali and Sanskrit literature like Mahavamsa or Vamsa tradition, Lalitavistara, Nikayas, Suttas, Jatakas. Buddhism was flourished in early medieval Odisha, tremendously under the Bhaumakar period in 8th-9th century A.D. Most of the Buddhist settlements like Ratnagiri, Solampur, Boudh, Udayagiri, Kuruma have expanded during this period. The names Ratnagiri Mahvihara,(Ratnagiri), Singhprasta Mahavihara, Madhavpur Mahavihara(Udayagiri), Chandraditya Mhavihara (Lalitgiri), Solampur Mahavihara (Solampur) have been discovered through archaeological investigation. During this period the Tantrayana form of Buddhism was evolved and numerous Buddhist God and goddess were introduced which are found from Ratnagiri, Udayagiri,Solampur and many other places. During the rule of Bhaumakara king Subhkara Deva, a Buddhist monk Prajna visited China with an autographed Buddhist manuscript of the King.
Recent Archaeological spade at Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, Udayagiri, Langudi, Vajragiri, Kayama, Radhanagar, Brahmavana, Boudh where, we get large settlements and ruins of Buddhist monuments that speak volumes about the growth of Buddhism. It is only after the year 1986, the major Buddhist sites of Odisha like Lalitgiri,Langudi, Radhanagar and Udayagiri have many Monuments like Stupas,Chaityas, and Monasteries (Viharas) were discovered. The monumental remains of these sites have all the potential to attract visitors, tourists and pilgrims. It is known from recent research that these monuments were built in the historical days by the traders and monks occasionally by the kings and queens. It is the link between trade networks of Central Asia and South East Asia. The Buddhist sites not only speaks about the religion, but spreads the message of peace and brotherhood, decency and discipline, after all love and compassion for which the Buddhist heritage sites are being developed for tourism attraction by many countries and States.
Let, the world know this historical truth for which this International Conference is being organized and Tourism is the medium for its promotion. We hope the serene and sublime landscape of our Buddhist sites will hit the Tourism market of the world and our this new product could draw the attention of tourism marketers. The Tour Opertaors and Travel Agencies should come forward to market it. The 3rd International Conference is being organized by the Department of Tourism from 13th to 15th February 2015.Many professors from Japan, University of Delhi, Banaras Hindu University, Lucknow University together with Tour Operators from Delhi and Banaras along with scholars and Tour Operators of Odisha are participating in the conference.