Agam Kuan, a well is 105' deep, circular in plan, with a diameter extending over 20'2". The well is brick-encased in the upper half of its depth (down to 44') and thereafter, secured by a series of wooden rings. The surface structure, which now covers the well and forms its most distinctive feature, has eight arched windows.
In the late 19th Century, one of the British explorers, Laurence Waddell, while exploring the ruins of Pataliputra, identified Agam Kuan as the legendary well built by Ashoka for torturing people, a practice reported by a Chinese traveller Fa Hien of the 5th and 7th centuries A.D.
There is also a popular legend, which states that this was the well where Ashoka threw ninety-nine of his elder brothers after killing them to obtain the throne of the Mauryan Empire. The site is also connected with several Jain legends, the most famous of them being that of a Jain monk Sudarshana who, when thrown into the well by a king named Chand, floated to the surface and was found seated on a lotus. Now this well serves as a eyewitness of the cruel history of Ashoka's earlier life and also as a wedding place, after this belief came in the mind of the local people.
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(Last Updated on : 19-03-2013)
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