LAT. HIND., SANSK. An obelisk, a pillar, a staff, a column, a monolith. The Lat pillars of North-Western India have been made famous in the world from having engraved on them ancient characters, now known as the Lat character, first deciphered by Mr. James Prinsep. At Allahabad is one of the famed Lat obelisks or pillars, a monolith containing a Gupta inscription on its surface. The more ancient engraving on this stone, and for whose exhibition we may conclude the pillar to have been expressly fashioned, con sists, however, of a counterpart of the edicts of Asoka, which appear severally on the Lat at Dehli, the rocks of Girnar on the western coast, and Dhauli in Cuttack, in addition to the tran script in the Semitic character on the rock at Kapurdigiri. The inscription contains 26 verses, which give a survey of the political divisions of India at the time, contain the names and titles of very many of the reigning families, and, extending beyond the boundaries of India, the regions of the great king of Persia, and the hordes of the Huns and Scythians. Though the capital of the Lunar princes had been removed to Hastinapur, and though Menu or the Mahabharat snakes no allusion to the name of Allahabad, still its im portance in the third century before Christ is established beyond a doubt by this column of Asoka.
The Bhitari Lat is a pillar in the Ghazipur district, bearing the same royal names and genea logy as on that of Allahabad.
The Dehli Lat is known as the pillar of Feroz, also the Golden Lat, from the gilt pinnacle or ball (Kalasa) placed over it by Feroz Taghalaq, who reigned at Dehli from A.D. 1351 (A.n. 752) till 1388 (am. 790). This is the most remarkable of all the objects in the Kotila, as well as the monument of highest antiquity in all Dehli. Till modern European scholars read and expounded its inscriptions, much erroneous opinion had pre vailed about this pillar. It was the club of Bliim Sena of the Hindus, the walking-stick of the old emperor Feroz of the Muhammadan, and the pillar of Alexander the Great, in memory of his victory over Porus, with Greek inscriptions, of Tom Coryate and the other early English travel lers, until, after the lapse of centuries, it once more became appreciable to the last generation as one of the edict columns of Asoka. The pillar
that is now just outside the Dehli gate of the city, was originally ou the west bank of the Jumna, in the district of Salora, not far from Khizerabad, which is at the foot of the Siwalik mountains, 90 cos from Dehli. But the original site of the pillar is supposed by Cunningham to have been somewhere near the ancient capital of Shrughna, described by Hiwen Thsang as possessing a large vihar, and a grand stupa of Asoka's time containing relics of • Buddha. The pillar is stated to have been conveyed by land on a truck to Khizerabad, from whence it was floated down to Ferozabad or New Delili. This removal took place about the year 1356, by the orders of Feroz Shah, as is said, to confound the Hindus, who had boasted of its immoveable fixity iu the earth. Underneath the pillar had been found a large square stone, which also was trans ported and placed in the same position as before, when the pillar was put up in the courtyard of the palace of Furor. In the face of this circum stantial account, which a contemporary writer has left of the removal of the pillar, it can by no means be taken for the same that the bard Chand speaks of as telling the fame of the Chauhan.' This must have been some other column that stood at Negumbode, and has dis appeared from causes not known now to anybody. The head of the Feroz Lat is now bare ; there is now no ornamentation of black and white stone work surrounded by a gilt pinnacle, from which, no doubt, it received its name of Minar Zarin, or golden pillar ; but this gilt pinnacle was still in its place in A.D. 1611, when William Finch entered Dehli, as he describes the stone pillar of Bimsa, which, after passing through three several storeys, rises 24 feet above them all, having on the top a globe surmounted by a crescent.