Buddhism had a great impact
on the history and geography of Orissa. Though the there are
few Buddhist religion people currently living in Orissa but
it has great impact in Oriya life and culture. As thery belive
Lord Buddha as a avatar of Lord Vishnu.
The great Kalinga war, which
transformed Asoka into a devout Buddhist and a great champion
of Buddhism, had been fought on the Orissan soil on the banks
of the river Daya, not far from the temple city of Bhubaneswar.
From here the light of Buddhism radiated to different Far
Eastern countries like China and Japan. It is here that the
foundation of a great religion and culture was laid. Orissa
held the torch of peace and non-violence (Dhamma) to the whole
world. This great transformation which literally changed the
whole world could be felt and experienced when one walks through
the vistas of Buddhism in Orissa.
As a testimony to this great
transformation we have the famous major rock-edicts of Asoka
at Dhauli near Bhubaneswar and Jaugada in Ganjam district.
Through the years, from the 3rd century B. C., Orissa had
nurtured a number of Buddhist centres of learning, art and
establishments in several places which flourished up to the
12th 13th century A.D. In fact, these places of Buddhist interest
had been a great source of attraction to outside visitors
from as early as the 7th century. The famous Chinese traveler
Hiuen T'sang had visited the Buddhist centres in Orissa in
the 7th century A.D.