No. 14─ BRAHMI INSCRIPTION FROM SALIHUNDAM
A. S. GADRE, BARODA
Śālihuṇḍam is a famous Buddhist site in the Srikakulam District of the Andhra State, about
12 miles by road from Srikakulam, the District headquarters. It is on the banks of the Vaṁśadharā which joins the Bay of Bengal some five miles further down. The hills of this place have
yielded many Buddhist structures and antiquities which have been briefly described in
this journal. Earlier excavations at the place have been fully described in the Annual Report
of the Archaeological Survey of India for the year 1919-20. When I visited the place in October
1953, I came across an inscribed casing slab of stone.
The slab bearing the inscription formed part of the top frieze of stones on the exterior surface
of the Mahāchaitya. That it is a fragmentary record can be recognized from the fact
that traces of letters preceding and following this inscription, can be seen on the inscribed stone
The inscription reads :─
Dhaṁma(mā) Raño Asokasirino
This fragmentary record refers to the religious edicts (dhaṁmā) of the illustrious Aśoka.
According to the Āryamañjuśrīmūlakalpa, Dharmāśoka, i.e. the Maurya emperor Aśoka, set
up stone pillars (śilā-yashṭi) at Chaityas as human memorials. Aśoka himself is said to have
visited the sites. Very probably the Mahāchaitya at Śālihuṇḍam is a creation of the Mauryan
times. It would therefore be no wonder if a reference is made to Aśoka’s religious records in
this inscription incised at a later date by devotees. An inscribed pot, discovered at this place,
has been assigned by Sri T. N. Ramachandran on paleographic grounds to the first century A. D.
at the latest. This obviously is the date of the pot and not of the structure which must have
preceded it. As our stone forms part of the Mahāchaitya, it is apparently of an earlier date.
Some scholars are inclined to read the first two words in the inscription as Dhaṁmaraño
(Sanskrit Dharmarājasya) and take it to be the epithet of Aśoka. In support of this reading
attention is drawn to certain inscriptions referring to kings as Dharmarāja,. Dharmamahārāja,
etc. I differ on this point. According to Buddhist literature the epithet Dharmarāja was applied
 Above, Vol. XXVIII, pp. 133 ff.
 Op. cit., pp. 34-38.
 [The record does not appear to be fragmentary. On the stone slab on which the space occupied by the
writing is 22″ by 2″ (an akshara bring 1½″ in height), there is no space for letters before the record in ten
aksharas while there is what looks like a damaged punctuation mark after it (cf. the symbol at the end of the
Musanagar brick inscription, above, Vol. XXX p. 120, n. 5). ─Ed.]
 Macron over e and o has not been used in this article.
 K. P. Jayaswal, An Imperial History of India (1934). p. 12 ; Sanskrit Text, p. 27, vv. 370-374.
 It is likely that the slabs of the entire top frieze of the stūpa or of a part of it were inscribed and the inscription went round the drum of the stūpa in one line. All these slabs are, however unfortunately missing barring
the one under review, [See note 3. Above.─Ed.]
 Cf. A. Ghosh, Indian Archaeology 1953-54, p. 13.