The Lath. Stone Pillar, Delhi, Punjab.
Photographer: Bourne, Samuel
Medium: Photographic print
This photograph was taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1860s as part of an album entitled 'Photographs of Indian and Overland Route'. It shows part of Firoz Shah Kotla, the fortified city founded in 1354 by the Tughluq sultan Firoz Shah (r. 1351-88) as his new capital of Firozabad on the banks of the river Jumna, north of the older cities of Delhi. The Lat or Ashoka Column was originally erected by the Mauryan ruler Ashoka in the 3rd BC. It was brought by Firoz Shah from its original position at Amballa to Firozabad where it surmounts a pyramidal structure at the heart of the fort. The Buddhist pillar is 13.1 metres high. In installing such a pillar at the heart of his empire, Firoz Shah emulated his predecessor Qutb-u'd-din Aibek who had placed a similar iron pillar of the Mauryan ruler Kamaragupta at the centre of the Quwwat al-Islam mosque courtyard in Delhi almost two centuries earlier.