(Last Updated on : 09/08/2012)
Pillars of Ashoka are a series of column that was placed in many parts of northern India among which some are located in Delhi
. These columns carry the inscription of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka
which was inscribed by him in 3rd century BC. While the inscriptions reveal some facts of the Mauryan dynasty, these inscriptions also carry the message of peace which was propagated by Ashoka under the influence of Buddhism
. With an average height of forty to fifty feet and an average weight of fifty tonnes these pillars are mainly constructed in the quarries located at Chunar
in the south of Varanasi
from where it was dragged to different places covering a long journey of hundred miles.
Pillars of Ashoka are of two types. While some of them are sandstone pillars made up of two types of sandstone; the other include the iron pillar which is one singular iron block curved in the form of a pillar with a height of seven feet and above. In Delhi two such pillars were found which were originally located in the outskirts of Delhi. One such pillar was located in Meerut while the other was located in Haryana
which were transported to the city of Delhi during the reign of Ferozshah Tughlaq. Some of them are made up of red and white sandstone which is a speciality of Mathura
, while the others are made up of buff coloured fine grained hard sandstone with small black spots quarried in Chunar near Varanasi. The uniformity of the style of construction particularly the pillar heads reveal that they have more or less constructed by the same craftsmen of the same region having same kind of skills. The pillars of Ashoka had been historically relevant for it carries the peace messages of the emperor that shall guide the mankind towards warless and peaceful living. Also these pillars reflect some light on the lifestyle of the Maurya Empire
when the edict describes about the Rajans of Mauryan Empire and their Rajya.
Moreover, these pillars had been significant as they represent unique architectural innovation when either stone or iron is carved into one single unit. Alongwith separate looks these pillars varied from region to region. While it is different in Vaishali
which carries a lion at the head, the other pillars some times do not carry such symbols.