- 1 Ashokan Pillar
- 2 History of Ashoka Pillar
- 3 Features of Ashoka Pillar
- 4 Importance of Ashoka Pillar Lion
- 5 Why Ashoka Pillar was chosen as the National Symbol after Independence?
- 6 Where is the Ashoka Pillar located in India?
The Constitution of India was implemented on 26 January 1950, on the same day the Ashoka Pillar located in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh was also given the constitutional status of the National Emblem of India.
Emperor Ashoka was the third ruler of the Maurya dynasty and one of the most powerful kings of the Indian subcontinent in ancient times. He lived in 273 BC. To 232 BC ruled India. Ashok’s empire covered most of India, South Asia, and beyond. It includes what is now Afghanistan and parts of Persia in the west, Bengal and Assam in the east, and Mysore in the south.
In Buddhist literature, Ashoka is described as a cruel and ruthless emperor. But after the war of Kalinga, he embraced Buddhism and devoted his life to spreading the principles of the religion. Numerous pillars and stupas were constructed around the nation by Ashoka. As India’s national emblem, one of these pillars, which is located in Sarnath, was chosen.
History of Ashoka Pillar
After converting to Buddhism, Emperor Ashoka worked to spread Buddhism outside of India. He sent his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka to propagate Buddhism. Ashoka built eighty-four thousand stupas in three years and he also got pillars built at many places in India. These pillars became most famous because of their distinctive sculpture. In fact, the pillar at Sarnath was a monument to the event of turning the wheel of Dharma and it was erected to maintain the integrity of the Dharma Sangha.
Features of Ashoka Pillar
The Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath was built from about 45 feet long sandstone block of Chunar. Its bar is spherical except for the base buried in the earth, which gradually becomes thinner towards the top. The top of it is above the throat, which is above the rod. There is an inverted lotus with the parties hanging below the throat. The chakra divides the round throat into four halves.
In the living replicas of elephants, horses, bulls, and lions have emerged respectively. The top above the throat has four lion statues attached to each other by the back. In the middle of these four was a small danda holding a dharma-chakra with 32 spokes, symbolizing the 32 great personality traits of Lord Buddha. The carving and polish on this pillar are astounding. At present, the lower part of the pillar is in its original position. Only a few fragments of the Dharmachakra were available.
Importance of Ashoka Pillar Lion
In Buddhism, the lion is considered synonymous with Buddha. Synonyms of Buddha include Shakyasimha and Narasimha. We find this in the Pali saga. That is why the Dhammacakkappavattana sutta preached by the Buddha has been called the roar of the Buddha.
He is seen in the form of the roaring Singh Dhamma Chakkappavattan. After Buddha attained enlightenment, the monks went in all four directions and ordered Bahujan Hitay Bahujan Sukhay for public welfare in lsipatan (Mrigdav), which is known as Sarnath. Therefore, here Chakravarti Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, the third emperor of the Maurya period, made lions roar in all four directions of the pillar. It is presently known as Ashoka Pillar.
Why Ashoka Pillar was chosen as the National Symbol after Independence?
Ashoka Chakra has been fully accepted as our national symbol. In the lower strip, four animals, including elephants, horses, bulls, and lions are made. Ashoka Pillar was discussed a lot before it was accepted and after deliberation on every aspect, it was chosen as the national symbol of the country after independence.
In fact, the four lions are considered a symbol of pride, self-confidence, determination, and strength. The 32 chakras present in it are considered a symbol of justice and energy. At the same time, it is also a symbol of the continuous progress of the newly liberated country. Apart from this, there is also a bull, horse, and elephant present at the bottom which is a symbol of Indian diversity agricultural culture, and valor.
Where is the Ashoka Pillar located in India?
Emperor Ashoka built pillars for the propagation of Buddhism in different parts of India and got Buddha’s teaching engraved in the form of inscriptions on these pillars.
We are going to tell you about some pillars made by the great emperor Ashoka.
Ashoka Pillar in Sarnath
A pillar of Emperor Ashoka is located at Sarnath. which Ashoka constructed in 250 BC. The pillar of Sarnath is known as the Ashoka Pillar. Four lions are sitting on the top of this pillar at Sarnath and all have their backs adjacent to each other. India has adopted the Ashoka Pillar of Sarnath as the national emblem. Apart from this, the Charka located at the bottom of the Ashoka Pillar is placed in the central part of the Indian Tricolor.
For your information, let us tell you that the Ashoka Pillar located in Sarnath is kept in the Sarnath Museum. Three inscriptions have been written on the Ashoka Pillar, the first of which is from Ashoka’s time written in Brahmi script. While the second article belongs to the Kushan period and the third article is from the Gupta period.
Ashoka Pillar in Allahabad
This pillar is located outside the Allahabad Fort. In the sixteenth century, Emperor Akbar constructed it. On the exterior of the Ashoka Pillar, Ashoka’s inscriptions are written in the Brahmi script. In 200AD, Samudragupta brought the Ashoka Pillar from Kaushambi to Prayga, and Prayag Prashasti composed by his court poet Harishena was engraved on it. After this, the story of sitting on the throne of Mughal Emperor Jahangir on this pillar in 1605 AD is also engraved on the Ashoka Pillar located at Allahabad. The pillar is believed to have been demolished in 1800 Ad but was re-erected by the British in 1838.
Ashoka Pillar in Vaishali
This pillar is located in Vaishali of Bihar state. Emperor Ashoka is believed to have become a follower of Buddhism after the Kalinga conquest and erected an Ashoka Pillar at Vaishali. This Ashoka pillar in Vaishali stands out from other pillars in a significant way. The pillar’s summit has an incorrectly carved lion with its face turned toward the north. It is said to have been the direction of Lord Buddha’s final voyage. Along with the pillar, there is a pond called Ramkund and a brick stupa. The location is sacred to Buddhists.
Ashoka Pillar in Delhi
Another pillar built by Emperor Ashoka is located at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. This Ashoka Pillar of Delhi was built by the great emperor Ashoka in the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century BC. This pillar is 13.1 meters high and built of polished sandstone. Ashoka built it in the 3rd century BC. It is believed that earlier this pillar was located in Meerut but when Firoz Shah Tughlaq came to Meerut around 1364, he was fascinated by the beauty of this pillar. After that, he traveled to Delhi with the Ashoka Pillar from Meerut and had it placed in his fort.
Ashoka Pillar in Sanchi
This pillar is located in Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh. This pillar was erected in the 3rd century and its structure is influenced by the Greco-Buddhist style. As a relic of the ancient history of Sanchi, this pillar is still strong and despite being centuries old, it appears newly built. It also resembles the Sarnath pillar a lot. Four lions are sitting on the top of the Ashoka pillar at Sanchi.
Apart from this, pillars of Ashoka are also located in Nigali Sagar and Rummindei, Lumbini Nepal, Rampurwa and Loria Nandangarh, Champaran Bihar, Lauria Araraja, Champaran Bihar, and Amravati.