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Given the rather decentralized and fragmentary nature of the Shunga state, with many cities actually issuing their own coinage, as well as the relative dislike of the Shungas for Buddhism, some authors argue that the constructions of that period in Sanchi cannot really be called "Shunga".
These elements are dated to circa 150 BCE, Although the railings are made up of stone, they are copied from a wooden prototype, and as John Marshall has observed the joints between the coping stones have been cut at a slant, as wood is naturally cut, and not vertically as stone should be cut.It was crowned by the chatra, a parasol-like structure symbolising high rank, which was intended to honour and shelter the relics.The original construction work of this stupa was overseen by Ashoka, whose wife Devi was the daughter of a merchant of nearby Vidisha.It relates to the penalties for schism in the Buddhist sangha: ". As long as (my) sons and great-grandsons (shall reign ; and) as long as the Moon and the Sun (shall endure), the monk or nun who shall cause divisions in the Sangha, shall be compelled to put on white robes and to reside apart. That the Sangha may be united and may long endure." The pillar, when intact, was about 42 feet 1 in height and consisted of a round and slightly tapering monolithic shaft, with bell-shaped capital surmounted by an abacus and a crowning ornament of four lions, set back to back, the whole finely finished and polished to a remarkable luster from top to bottom.The abacus is adorned with four honeysuckle designs separated one from the other by pairs of geese, symbolical perhaps of the flock of the Buddha's disciples.
Besides the short records of the donors written on the railings in Brahmi script, there are two later inscriptions on the railings added during the time of the Gupta Period.