Posted on: 28 April 2013


The Asoka Pillar now in Allahabad Fort is rightly regarded as originally erected at KauSambi. Dr. Bhandarkar says that the savanna or orders of Asoka against schism which we find engraved on pillars are at three different places, namely, Sarnath, Sanchi and Allahabad. "The pillars at the former two places are believed to be in situ, but that at present existing at Allahabad is rightly regarded as having been in Kausambi." This is also the view of Dr. Hultzch. He says: "KauSambi Edict is addressed to the Mahamatras of Kauambi. Cunningham concluded from it that the Allahabad pillar must have been originally erected by Asoka at KauSambi." He agrees in this with Cunningham but disagrees with him as to the latter's suggestion that Feroz Shah removed it to Allahabad, and holds with more reason that Akbar did it to add to the beauty of his newly built city. That this pillar was originally set up by Asoka is clear from another consideration. Asoka's edict on the Pillar now in Allahabad is aimed at schism which was breaking the unity of the Buddhist Church. The Jasana runs as follows: "Whosoever breaks up the Church, be it monk or nun, shall be clad in white raiment, and compelled to live in what is not a residence (of the clergy)." The Sasana or the order is addressed, as is clear from the inscription, directly to the Mahamatras of KauSambi. According to Dr.Radha Kumud there were two classes of Mahamatras. One class of Mahamatras were associated with Viceroys as Ministers, to whom kings' orders were communicated by the Viceroy,
or in some cases by the king himself jointly with the Viceroy. The other class of Mahamatras were 'Provincial Governors who were entitled to receive the king's message directly'.The learned scholar is of the opinion that since the Kausambi Edict is addressed by the king directly to the Mahamatras of KauSambi, it 'must have been, therefore, the headquarters of another province.' It is therefore natural to suppose that the Pillar had been erected in the seat of a provincial government, which was KauSambi.

Early History of Kausambi
By N.N. Ghosh
Published by Allahabad Law Journal Press, Allahabad - 1935

Photograph of the Ashoka Pillar in Allahabad, from an Album of Miscellaneous views in India, taken by Thomas A.Rust in the 1870s. Ashoka (reigned ca. 272-231 BC) was the most illustrious king of the Maurya dynasty. After his conquest of Kalinga in Orissa, struck with remorse at the suffering he caused, he converted to Buddhism and spent the rest of his life propagating his dharma (law). In order to achieve this, he had numerous edicts inscribed on rocks, pillars and caves, throughout his vast empire. These are written in various vernaculars and represent the earliest written document from the Indic regions. From these edicts it appears that Ashoka was an extremely tolerant and benevolent monarch. This pillar was originally erected in the 3rd century BC by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka. The pillar was moved to Allahabad, in front of the gateway to the Allahabad Fort, in 1583 by Akbar. The pillar made of polished stone extends 10.7 m in height and is incised with an Ashokan edict.

Copyright © The British Library Board

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This is inside the fort now

old memories of my childhood

What does it mean,Situ & kauSambi ?


Prince Salim/ Jehangir got this erected at this site inside Allahabad fort. He found it lying inside the fort ( perhaps brought here by Akbar's architects who made the fort & designed its Rani/Zenana mahal). Somewhere inside the fort lies buried some part of, one of India's greatest historians, Abu Fazl, the writer of Ain-e-akbari, and friend of Akbar. Prince Salim's rebellion against his dad translated into Salim getting a Bundela chief to chop Abu Fazl's head & bring it to him, at this fort.

In situ in archaeology means, an artifact in its original place ..... of the three pillars, Sarnath and Sanchi are 'in situ' ( in its original place) but what we know as Allahabad pillar was shifted from its original place, Kausambi.

The fort at Allahabad surely predated the Mughals, like all the other forts in India including the one in Vijaypur/Fatehpur Sikri.

Magnificient. It must have been moved by Akbar to the Allahabad Fort as suggested by Dr Bhandarkar. I will have to check it out in the writings of Abul Fazl. There is no mention of Feroz Shah moving a pillar to Alahabad in Tarikh-i-Feroz Shahi or other books. I will also check the Tuzuk-i Jahangiri.

There is no reference to the Allahabad pillar in either Akbar Nama of Abul Fazl, or Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri by Jahangir. The best information I could collect is that this polished stone pillar contains inscriptions from Emperor Ashoka and Samdargupta and even Emperor Jahangir. The inscriptions were deciphered by James Prinsep and he concluded that some inscriptions were made while the pillar was lying on the ground. Thus it would seem that the Ashoka pillar was brought by Emperor Akbar from Kausambi, which is not far off, but it is not clear if it was erected by him or Jahangir. What is certain is that the British found the Ashoka pillar lying on the ground inside the Fort in 1838, and installed it as it stands today.