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Ashokan edict pillar at Lauriya Araraj, Champaran District

Ashokan edict pillar at Lauriya Araraj, Champaran District

Photographer: Caddy, Alexander E.

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1895

Shelfmark: Photo 1003/(25)

Item number: 100325

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the polished sandstone pillar at Lauriya Araraj in Champaran district with its capital missing dating from the 3rd century BC in the Maurya period. The edicts of the emperor Ashoka are clearly engraved on its shaft and divided into two groups, one facing south and the other facing north. 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 the 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.

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