I never really enjoyed studying history in school. As I began traveling, however, to my surprise, I developed an interest in learning and gathering info about things, places, and monuments from the past.
When I visit any ancient buildings, heritage structures, archaic monuments now, I’m transported to a different era. There’s a sort of a thrill being there and it feels like I’m traveling back in time by visiting these remnants of history that narrate stories from centuries ago.
So this one time, I was on a local bus from Sankri – a tiny village in Uttarakhand, headed to Dehradun – the winter capital of Uttarakhand. I was returning from a trek to Kedarkantha – a stunning winter trek in the Himalayas. I had in mind a place called Kalsi that I wanted to visit which was situated somewhere on this route, but I had no proper information about how to reach this place. I would have traveled all way to Dehradun and back to Kalsi again (which was somewhere before Dehradun on this route) if not for the kind and super helpful conductor of this bus. I’m glad I asked him casually about Kalsi for he helped me with all the information that only a local person can and helped me instantly plan this impromptu visit. He guided me so well on getting around locally, where to I get another bus/vehicle for Dehradun later etc, to even the tiniest detail like the fare estimate – almost every thing I practically needed to know.
He stopped the bus at the best point where I could hop off and get a local, shared transport to reach Kalsi. I got down near this place called Barwala and instantly found a 6-seater, shared vehicle – Vikram – as it is called locally. It was a short ride and I soon found myself looking at the board at the side of a road of a busy market place.
The board read ‘Rock Edict of Asoka’ – an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) site. A short walk from there lead me to the site of Ashoka rock edict. It displays edicts carved in stone by Emperor Ashoka of the powerful Maurya dynasty. Inscribed in Prakrit language and Brahmi script, this is the only Ashoka rock edict located in north India.
This isn’t exactly a grand historical site, and in fact I was surprised to find no one available there to manage the place – or at least no one present when I was there. Read the info (in the first image on top) to know more about the rock edict. There wasn’t much to look around and I was done much earlier than I had expected.
Traveling to places with historical significance, has changed my perspective towards history, and I believe much knowledge can be gained by visiting such places rather than simply reading about it in the textbooks. About time the schools change the way history is taught, don’t you think?