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Remains of Ashokan monolithic pillar discovered - The Times of India

Pranava K Chaudhary ()
15 February 1997

Title : Remains of Ashokan monolithic pillar discovered in Patna city
Author : Pranava K Chaudhary
Publication : The Times of India
Date : February 15, 1997

The remains of an Ashokan monolithic pillar has been
discovered by a team of experts under the banner of the
committee Fir Conservation of Indian Cultural Heritage
here at Kacchighat within the precincts of old Patna
Fort, barely 12 km from Patna.

This would be the fifth Ashokan pillar located in Bihar.
The other four are located in Rampurva, Lauriya
Nandangarh, Lauriya Areraj and Kolhua.

According to their findings, the visible portion of the
shaft has a base of the monolithic pillar is four inches
above the surface level. The shaft made of chunar
sandstone and at top has a diameter of 18 inches and is
located 30 feet to 35 feet higher than the present water
level of river Ganga. It is 300 metres west of the
present famous Quila House on the Southern back barely
40-50 feet away from the old course of river.

The expert team comprising former director of Bihar State
Archaeology Prakash Charan Prasad, Lt. Col. Umesh Prasad,
Mr Kumar Anand and Magandeo Narain Singh only recently
found remain of an Ashokan pillar in Patna city area
during the course of their exploration of ancient sites
and monuments of Pataliputra.

The team carried out an analysis of the buried shaft.
General Cunnigham who had studied the characteristics of
almost all the Ashokan pillars had come to the conclusion
that the tapering of the shaft of th Ashokan pillar from
base upwards was at an average .39 inches per foot, they

Correlating the above description with the place of
discovery of the remains of the Ashokan pillar the team
members stated that the place of discovery is identical
with the area identified by the noted historian Havildar
Tripathi as Gautam Drava. This place is exactly 300 metre
north of the Patna Saheb Gurudwara. The existence of
pillar and antiquity lying in its vicinity definitely
pointed out the historicity of this area itself, they

Even Sher Shah, who had come to Patna in 1540 AD while
returning from his Bengal campaign, had gone on to survey
the bank of the Ganges against possible attack from his
adversaries at Hajipur. He came across the ancient ruins
at the place and he was surprised with the strategic and
tactical location of the site, immediately ordered a
ford to be constructed at that very spot and Patna fort
was constructed in record time of two years at a cost of
Rs five lakh, as mentioned in Tarikh-e-Daudi by Abdullah.

Mr Prakash said that the discovery of the remains of
monolithic pillar may now throw a good deal of light on
the history of ancient Pataligram around which the
Magadhan empire was established. Lt.Col Prasad stressed
the need for immediate exploration of the entire region
by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to expose
much more about the antiquity of the ancient township.

Both Mr Prasad and Lt.Col Umesh Prasad are of the opinion
that there must be somewhere near this location

Mahavihara, Buddhist monastery. We have discovered
Mauryan bricks which are very domestic in use by nearby
families in Patna city areas, they point out. They have
urged the state government as well as the ASI to
immediately send a team to the spot and do a preliminary
survey of the area.

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