Asoka's Pillar, Monolith in Fort, Allahabad.
Photographer: Rust, Thomas A.
Medium: Photographic print
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.