India as a massive and magnificent nation was the site of the most unforgettable battles in history, one of which was the bloody Kalinga War in 261 BC.
The Magadha Army was a mighty force of the Mauryan Empire that ruled over ancient India. Stretching from the north along the Himalayas, to the East of Assam, and onwards to Pakistan, Balochistan and the old Afghanistan, the vastness of its reach only stopped in the small yet rich kingdom called Kalinga (located in the present-day Indian state of Ornissa), which remained independent from the Mauryan rule under King Chandragupta and his son, Emperor Bindusara.
The complete domination of Kalinga had always been the crusade of these two rulers, but they failed to conquer it due to the patriotic Kalinga people who valued their freedom and ready to defend it anytime. As such, the fervor to invade Kalinga passed on to Ashoka, son of Bindusara who died in 272 BC.
On the eight year of Ashoka’s reign, the plot to conquer Kalinga commenced. The mighty Magadha Army with King Ashoka in the lead and thousands of cavalry and war animals after him, swooped over the Kalinga warriors in Dhaili hill, site of the battle, trampling its village army of 60,000 soldiers, 1,000 cavalry and 700 elephants. Despite being outnumbered, the Kalingas fought with fervor, their valor ending in death. In no time, Ashoka’s army won.
The Kalinga War claimed the lives of 100,000 Kalinga people, 10,000 men from Ashoka’s army, and hundreds of war elephants on the spot, not to mention exhaustive damage to more lives and properties. It was said that the Daya River next to the battlefield flowed with the blood of thousands of dead warriors.