Ashoka Pillar, Allahabad Overview

A significant remnant of the Gupta era, the Allahabad Pillar is one of the many pillars set up by the Mauryan emperor, Ashoka. This polished sandstone spire hones inscriptions from the Samudragupta and Jahangir era; the 4th BCE and 17th century respectively.

However, the Allahabad Pillar was further shifted from its origin to Akbar's Allahabad Fort, which is a present-day army land. Thus, visitors would need prior permission before visiting the Allahabad Pillar. 

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Allahabad Pillar Inscriptions

The Allahabad Pillar engravings are a significant part of the pillar. Divided into three sections, the pillar hones messages in stone from the Ashoka, Samudragupta and Jahangir eras. Ashoka Maurya's inscriptions on the Allahabad Pillar played a crucial role in decoding the Brahmi Script.

These decipherments further led to an expansive understanding of the Mauryan Empire. Samudragupta's engravings hone a much advanced and more sophisticated use of the Sanskrit language imbibed with the Gupta dialect. Etched by Harishena, his poet and minister, these inscriptions speak volumes of the former's reign. 

The last section of the Allahabad Pillar inscriptions are from the Mughal era. Inscribed by Mir Abdullah Mushkin Qalam, these Persian engravings act as a vital understanding of Jahangir's ancestors. However, it is said to have been ruined by numerous layers of overwriting. 

History of the Allahabad Pillar

Established during Ashoka's rule during the 3rd century BC, the Allahabad Pillar is also known as an Ashoka Stambha. However, it was deduced that the origin of the pillar was in Kaushambi, about 50 km from the present site. However, there are other arguments that state that the pillar was never shifted.

Other contradictions refer to the Allahabad Pillar being a pre-Buddhist edifice from Prayag. Nonetheless, this pillar was a vital source of decipherment and understanding of the Mauryan Empire for James Prinsep, founder of the Asiatic Society.

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