[INDOLOGY] Ashokan Pillars' transport

Nagaraj Paturi nagarajpaturi at gmail.com
Fri May 19 06:05:08 UTC 2017

There is a paper presented in the Indian History Congress by Syed Ali
Nadeem Razavi avialable for download at

In which he says:

The first question which concerns us in this paper is the problem
of how these massive pillars were cut and transported from the place
of origin (mainly from quarries of Chunar and Mathura) by Ashoka,
their transportation to their new sites and installation therein. The sheer
weight and volume of the monoliths would require much labour and
use of technological devices.

Some light on this issue is thrown by two 14 lh century contemporary
sources of Firuzshah Tughluq: the anonymous Sirat-i Firuzshahi and
the Tarikh-i Firuzshahi of Shams Siraj Afif.' 2 From both these texts it
appears that Firuzshah in September 1367 ordered the use of capstan,
pulleys, ropes and padding to remove and refix the pillars and large
carts and boats to transfer them by road and river. To quote Afif on the

996 IHC: Proceedings, 70th Session, 2009-10

pillar being taken down and prepared for the journey from Topra to

On Fri, May 19, 2017 at 11:02 AM, Artur Karp via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Dear List,
> Has anyone studied - and written on - the mode of transport of Aśokan
> pillars out of the quarry in Chunar, dst. Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh?
> The Firoz Shah Kotla Pillar (brought by Firoz from Ambala dst., Haryana)
> is a sandstone monolith nearly 13 m. in height, and it weighs close to 27
> tons.
> Regards,
> Artur Karp (ret.)
> Chair of South Asian Studies,
> University of Warsaw
> Polska
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Nagaraj Paturi

Hyderabad, Telangana, INDIA.

Former Senior Professor of Cultural Studies

FLAME School of Communication and FLAME School of  Liberal Education,

(Pune, Maharashtra, INDIA )

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