Stambhas are pillars that were set up in the Buddhist sacred places and along the highways belonging to the ancient kingdoms. A stambha consists of a circular tapering column, an inverted lotus shaped base on top and above the base, an abacus with a crowning sculpture. These three portions are carved out of a single stone.
The great Buddhist ruler of India, Emperor
Ashoka, set up at least thirty such pillars. Some good examles are the Basarh Bakhira (with lion capital), Laurya Nandangarh in Champaran District of Nepal (with a seated lion capital on an inverted lotus and carved abacus). The Saranath stambha with its four lions seated back to back is a fine specimen.