The pillars of Ashoka are actually a series of columns found in northern India. As the name suggests, these pillars were commissioned by Emperor Ashoka during his reign in the 3rd century. All these pillars averaged between forty and fifty feet in height and weighed about fifty ton each. They were quarried at Chunar, a town near Varanasi and then dragged to the place where they were erected.
Although several pillars had been constructed only nineteen survive with inscriptions to this day. Of these, the pillars of Ashoka in Sarnath are the most famous. They have four lions seated back to back. The symbol has been adopted as the national emblem of India. These four lions symbolise power, courage, pride and confidence. The wheel or Ashok Chakra from the base is placed in the centre of the Indian national flag.