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Kirti Stambha at Chittorgarh fort in Rajasthan, India

Stambha (also spelled as Skambha) - is used to denote pillar or column. In the context of Jain & Hindu mythology, it is believed to be a cosmic column which functions as a bond, which joins the heaven (Svarga) and the earth (Prithvi). A number of Hindu scriptures, including the Atharva Veda, have references to Stambha. In the Atharva Veda, a celestial stambha has been described as an infinite scaffold, which supports the cosmos and material creation.

Stambha was and is also used in the context of Indian architecture. Different Stambhas serve different purpose, including the following:

  • Dhvajastambha - flagstaffs that are placed opposite the main shrine, on an axis with the main deity.
  • Kirtistambha - erected to commemorate victories.
  • Most well known stambhas of India are the Ashokastambha (Pillars of Ashoka) erected during the reign of Ashoka, spread across the subcontinent, and which bear different types of royal edicts.
  • Adi Purana - a huge manastambha stands in front of the samavasarana of the tirthankaras, which causes someone entering a samavasarana to shed their pride.[1]

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