Vijayawada

City Ashoka pillar is part of AP heritage

A dog lies near the Asoka Pillar, which will be demolished to make way for the Kanaka Durga flyover in the city. —Photo: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar  

The Ashoka Pillar which stands as a sentinel at what was the sole entry point to the Bezawada town is a part of Andhra Pradesh heritage and should not be demolished to make way for Kanaka Durga flyover, feel experts and old-timers.

The 60-foot pillar on which the Lion Capital of Ashoka was installed was actually the chimney of the old Public Works Department (PWD) workshop that existed there in the 1950s.

The workshop was shifted to Seethanagaram just before or during the construction of Prakasam Barrage (then it was just called Krishna Barrage and was named after Tanguturi Prakasam, the first Chief Minister of a separate Andhra and the person who laid the foundation stone for the barrage much later).

Shutters, gates and other metal fittings for the anicuts across Krishna, Godavari and other irrigation structures all over the State were made at the workshop, according to Parepalli Adinarayana Murthy, 83.

Mr Murthy, who worked as a section engineer in the team that constructed Krishna barrage, is still working as a licensed engineer (private) based in Mangalagiri. The chimney of the old PWD workshop was converted into Ashoka Pillar after the shifting of the workshop, he informs.

Mr Murthy feels that removal of the Ashoka Pillar would be a formidable task. The alignment of the Kanaka Durga flyover could have been altered slightly to leave the pillar undisturbed.

The history and importance of this pillar is not known to many, including the authorities.

It is popular as Ashoka pillar because of the Lion Capital of Ashoka on top of it.

A statue of Potti Sriramulu at the entrance to Prakasam Barrage was removed, but demolition of the Ashoka pillar appears to be a daunting task as it may need involvement of experts to bring down the structure without causing any damage to the Lion Capital. This may need erecting of a scaffolding to reach the top of the pillar for removal of the Lion Capital.

Authorities say that the pillar would be demolished but the Lion Capital of Ashok would be preserved.

After completion of the flyover the Ashoka pillar would be reconstructed and the Lion Capital of Ashoka would be re-installed on top again, they maintain.

A hole has been made at the base of the pillar, perhaps for investigation rather than demolition.

Though it was a chimney there are no rungs inside that could be used by people to ascend to the top, Mr. Murthy said.



The 60-foot pillar on which the Lion Capital of Ashoka was installed was actually the chimney of the old Public Works Department (PWD) workshop that existed there in the 1950s




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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 11:03:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/city-ashoka-pillar-is-part-of-ap-heritage/article7868664.ece

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