Chandragupta’s son Bindusara followed the footprints of his father in his political lines and conquered more territories except the kingdom of Kalinga (parts of what is modern Orissa). Historians point out that the empire Bindusara ruled over had almost the form and extent of modern India. He was succeeded by his son Ashoka, hailed till date as the most famous of all Indian emperors.
The fierce war he waged with Kalinga to annex it caused untold miseries and bloodshed and deaths and it made him sit back and think about the futility of war. After the annexation of Kalinga, in an edict on the war, Ashoka declared that 150,000 prisoners were taken and more than 100,000 men killed.
But after the war the king had a total change of mind, turned to the Buddhist teachings and became a Buddhist to become the greatest follower and propagator of the religion. He was instrumental in the spreading of Buddhism all over South Asia and South East Asia. The Mauryan Empire and its power reached its peak under Ashoka’s rule. It had become one of the largest empires in the whole of the East.
Historians point out that Ashoka’s empire extended in the West up to Arachosia (now part of Afghanistan). An edict of Ashoka was found in Lampaka (near modern Jelalabad) which confirmed that Paropamisus actually was part of the Mauryan empire.
Data found in the Kashmir chronicle Rajatarangini and in descriptions by Chinese pilgrims give us reason to believe that part of Kashmir was also incorporated into Asoka’s empire. Parts of Nepal, and Bengal were also part of his empire, as suggested by epigraphic evidence.