Ashokan minor rock edict of Udegola

I had spent hours researching Google maps trying to find the exact location of Nittur and Udegolam; found Nittur village but Udegolam was unmarked. Also I wasn't sure if these edicts were within the villages or situated in a remote place like Palki Gundu. Well, I did not want to assume anything.. let me go there.

March 8, 2013
We had left Bellary early; our first stop was Tekkalakote, next was Varavina Malleshwara temple 4 kms east of Tekkalakote. We came back to Tekkalakote, got directions for Nittur. The road was flanked all boulder strewn hills; the very look of those  hills gave a feel of prehistoric human settlements; in fact we could see a couple of rock-shelters on the slopes, perfectly suitable for humans to live in. I eas tempted to stop and explore but the thought of upsetting the itinerary was not a good idea. After couple  of kilometers the tar road gave way to a narrow mud road. At a brick factory the path turned right and left; we entered the paddy belt. It was a carpet of green as far as we could see; we could see rock-formations too. Instead of heading to Nittur straight away we stopped at the first person we met to ask for directions. This person guessed our purpose, he suggested us to see Udegola first, which we were closer to and gave rough directions to Nittur site. Thanks to than man; I was relieved now :-)

A narrow path led to a rock formation; we could see a short flight of steps leading to a small rock shelter protected by brick-wall, grills and doors. I went in and peeped, it was a temple. I scanned the surroundings; behind a clump of Neem trees was a granite structure- close to the left edge in this picture.

There it is- Asoka's minor rock edict of Udegolam.
Two women and a little boy were sitting close by, they told us the care-taker was on sick leave :-(
I offered to take pictures of them but they were too shy, even the kid did not want his picture taken.
Minor Rock Edict II
The edict was inscribed on the entire surface facing us. However, some parts of the inscription was barely visible. I guess trained epigraphists' eyes can catch text better than any layman's eyes.

A closer look- click on the image to enlarge it - that way you'll see the letters.

I guess exposure to nature's forces the surface chips of in layers. I hope this shelter helps preserve it better.

Other side of the boulder. The place is silent and peaceful. I wish I had more time to explore & inspect the rocks behind me. The ladies told us about the second inscription close by ..a minute's walk in the direction we are looking.

Few minutes later a man came, he seemed to be the father of the kid. He accompanies us to the second inscription. Here it is-

Minor Rock Edict I
We were looking at a plain surface, no text. Then a careful, closer look at the rock we could identify faded text.

My heartfelt thanks to Mr. S B Hiremath, Director In-charge, Kannada Research Institute, Karnatak University, Dharwad for lending me the book 'Ashokan Studies by D C Sircar'. All information following this line have been sourced from this book. The author has used the abbreviation MRE for the phrase 'minor rock edict'. There are two types of minor rock edicts- MRE I and MRE II.

The Asokan edict of Udegolam was found seven months after the discovery of Nittur edict. The news was announced in March 1978 by Director of Archaeology, Karnataka. Nittur edict discovery was reported in September 1977. Both sites have MRE I and MRE II.

Nittur edict is in Brahmi script and the language is Sanskrit. MRE I is in six lines, inscription is damaged and most parts are not legible. MRE II is in eight lines and in fairly good condition.

1. ....yam hakam upasake (/*) [no] tu kho badham pa[kamte]....
2. ....[ba]dham ca me pakamte/imina cu k[a]lena / amisa....
3. ...[no] hi iyam ma[ha]pten=eva sake pa....
4. ....etya iyam [a]
5. ....[cira-th]itike ca iyam pakame....
6. ....[savane] savapite [vyu]....

1. (I) raja Asoko Devanampiyo hevam apa(ha) (/*) tuphe anapayatha Rajukam (/*) se anapayisiti j[a]napadam [ca] janam Rathikani 2. ca (/*) mata-pitusu sususitaviye ti (/*) hevam=eva garusu (/*) panesu ca [da]yitha(ta)[vi]ye ti (/*) ime dhammaguna pavatitaviya ti (/*) [he]
3. vam tuphe Rajukam anapayatha (/*)se ta(da)ni Deva[nam]piyasa vacanena anapayisati ti (/*) [ta] ta hemava anapayatha ca ti (/*) Bambhanani ca hath-aro[ha]
4. [ni] ca karanakani ca yug-a[ca]riyani ca (/*) [tu] phe nivesayatha amt[eva]sisi(ni)yadisi pora[na pakiti] (/*) [se anapa]yisa[ti ca] (/*) [susu]sitaviye ti / iyam
5. ca apacayitaviye ti / se acariyasa apaca[yi]va(ta)viye ca sususitaviye (ca/*) ye pi ca acariyasa natika / tasu pi yathalaham pavatitaviye ti (/*)
6. hemeva [ca] pati[v]as[i]su pi yatha[la]ham pavatitaviye / ya[di]si porana pakiti (/*) yatha iyam [hi] sati[re]ke huveya tatha pavativa(ta)viye ti (/*) hevam tuphe anapayatha
7. nivesayatha ca amtevasini ti (/*)

I wonder how many edicts of Samrat Asoka remain lost. He did make an effort to change the way people lived.. for the better.

Here's a map of Nittur-Udegolam area. The roads connecting Tekkalakote and these sites are dirt tracks but surface is good.

We say bye to the farmer friend & his family and head towards Nittur.

Video link: Ashoka's Edict at Udegolam.

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