'Meerut find may lead to ‘lost’ Ashoka pillar site'

2,000-year-old Meerut find may lead to ‘lost’ Ashoka pillar site: Report

The Delhi-Meerut pillar was shifted from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh to Delhi by Feruz Shah, ruler of the Tughlaq dynasty

Ashoka Pillar at the Feruz Shah Kotla in Delhi. Credit: Official website/tripadvisor.com

Ashoka Pillars in India are structures erected by the Mauryan King Ashoka between  268 to 232 BC across the Indian subcontinent. While only 20 Ashoka pillars stand tall in India now, a new finding by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), may lead to a lost Ashoka Pillar site in Meerut.

One among the 20 existing pillars, the pillar which is said to have been erected in Meerut, currently stands in Delhi. The Delhi-Meerut pillar was shifted from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh to Delhi by Feruz Shah, ruler of the Tughlaq dynasty, according to several reports.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) claimed that remains dating back to the Mauryan-period have been identified. The ASI said that a brick platform going back over 2,000 years has been found, and it could hold the key to a “lost” Ashoka Pillar site from the 3rd century BCE.

“A large part of the structure is in the form of a 30m by 35m platform at Vikas Puri. The ancient site is undoubtedly one from the Mauryan period because the bricks are typical of the era,” Meerut circle superintending archaeologist Brajsundar Gadnayak told the Times of India.

“We have also found pottery and ceramics belonging to those times. An ancient canal route here that, most likely, connects to the Kali river has also been found. The finding has rekindled hopes that it could lead historians to a pillar installed in Meerut around 3rd century BCE by Ashoka, the third emperor of the Mauryan dynasty”, Brajsundar added.

The Ashoka pillars are a representation of Ashoka’s dynamic rule and conquests across India. While most of the pillars have either withered away or been destroyed by succeeding rulers, 20 pillars still stand in India. The pillars are the earliest known stone scriptures in India and demonstrate the culture of the advanced Mauryan civilisation.

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