The name of the city is derived from that of its founder, Sardar Maha Singh Mirpuri, who was a Sikh administrator and general in the Sikh Khalsa Army,during the rule of the Khalsa Empire of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.During the Maurya dynasty, Ashoka the Great was the governor of this area where he was a prince. After the death of his father, the Mauryan emperor Bindusara, Ashoka ascended to the throne around 272 B.C. and made this area one of the major seats of his government. The Edicts of Ashoka inscribed on three large boulders on the side of a rocky outcrop near Mansehra serve as evidence of his rule. The Mansehra rocks record fourteen of Ashoka’s edicts, presenting aspects of the emperor’s dharma or righteous law, and represent some of the earliest evidence of writing in South Asia. Dating to middle of the third century BC, they are written from right to left in the Kharosthi script.