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Ashokan Pillar, Kolhua Vaishali

Made from a single piece of polished red sandstone, this pillar built by Emperor Ashoka commemorates the last sermon of Lord Buddha.

Kolhua is a famous Buddhist excavation site situated approximately 65 km North-West of Patna. The excavations have revealed the famous Ashokan Pillar having a statue of lion on the top. Excavations also revealed, many other articles related to Buddhism.

Emperor Ashoka built The Lion Pillar at Kolhua. It is made of a highly polished single piece of red sandstone, surmounted by a bell shaped capital, 18.3 m high. A life-size figure of a lion is placed on top of the pillar. There is a small tank here known as Ramkund. This pillar beside a brick stupa at Kolhua commemorates Buddha's last sermon.

The physical appearance of the pillars underscores the Buddhist doctrine. Most of the pillars were topped by sculptures of animals. Each pillar is also topped by an inverted lotus flower, which is the most pervasive symbol of Buddhism (a lotus flower rises from the muddy water to bloom unblemished on the surface—thus the lotus became an analogy for the Buddhist practitioner as he or she, living with the challenges of everyday life and the endless cycle of birth and rebirth, was able to achieve Enlightenment, or the knowledge of how to be released from samsara, through following the Four Noble Truths). This flower, and the animal that surmount it, form the capital, the topmost part of a column. Most pillars are topped with a single lion or a bull in either seated or standing positions. The Buddha was born into the Shakya or lion clan. The lion, in many cultures, also indicates royalty or leadership. The animals are always in the round and carved from a single piece of stone.


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