The ‘Great Stupa’ at Sanchi is the oldest structure and was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BCE. Its nucleus was a hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. It was crowned by the chatra, a parasol-like structure symbolising high rank. A pillar of finely polished sandstone was also erected. The old stupa was later covered when it was expanded. The bottom part of the pillar still stands. The upper parts of the pillar are placed under a canopy nearby. The pillar has an Ashokan inscription (Schism Edict) and an inscription in the ornamental Sankha Lipi from the Gupta period.