Agam Kuan

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Agamkuan is located in Patna
Location in Patna, India
Coordinates: 25°35′53″N 85°11′48″E / 25.59806°N 85.19667°E / 25.59806; 85.19667Coordinates: 25°35′53″N 85°11′48″E / 25.59806°N 85.19667°E / 25.59806; 85.19667
Country India
State Bihar
Metro Patna
 • Body Patna Municipal Corporation
 • Official Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 800007

Agam Kuan is known to be the oldest and the most important archaeological sites in Patna. Agam Kuan, which means "unfathomable well", is said to date back to the period of Maurya emperor, Ashoka (r. 268–232 BCE). The well is located east of Patna, Bihar state, India, south-west of Gulzarbagh Station.[1][2]

The architecture[edit]

Agam Kuan is 105' deep, circular in plan, with a diameter extending over 20'2". The well is brick-encased in the upper half of its depth (down to 44') and thereafter, secured by a series of wooden rings. The surface structure, which now covers the well and forms its most distinctive feature, has eight arched windows.[3]

History and legends[edit]

A photograph of statues found near Agam Kuan, Patna, 1895.

During the 1890s, the British explorer, Laurence Waddell, while exploring the ruins of Patliputra, identified Agam Kuan as the legendary well built by Ashoka for torturing people, a practice reported by Chinese travellers (most probably Fa Hien) of the 5th and 7th centuries A.D.[3][4]

Another popular legend states that this was the well where Ashoka threw ninety-nine of his elder brothers after killing them to obtain the throne of the Mauryan Empire.

The site is also connected with several Jain legends, the most famous of them being that of a Jain monk Sudarshana who, when thrown into the well by a king named Chand, floated to the surface and was found seated on a lotus.

The well's is still considered auspicious and a site for many religious ceremonies, especially Hindu weddings [3]

Shitala Devi temple[edit]

Shitala Devi temple

Next to the Agam Kuan lies the Shitala Devi temple, dedicated to Shitala Devi, which houses the pindas of the 'Saptamatrikas' (the seven mother goddesses). The temple is widely revered for its potency in curing smallpox and chicken pox, as with all Shitala Devi temples, and is also visited by devotees for wish fulfillment.

The site also has several ancient and medieval sculptures, out of these at least one as reported by A. Cunningham, who visited the site, 1879–80, was of the Yaksha of the Mauryan art-affiliation,[5] though the whereabouts of this sculpture are not known now.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Patna
  2. ^ Patna Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation.
  3. ^ a b c "Agam Kuan". Directorate of Archaeology, Govt. of Bihar, official website. Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  4. ^ Asha Vishnu (1993). Material Life of Northern India: Based on an Archaeological Study, 3rd Century B.C. to 1st Century B.C.. Mittal Publications. p. 173. ISBN 8170994101. 
  5. ^ British Library "A. Cunningham (Alexander Cunningham) wrote (after his 1879-80 tour), 'When I saw the two statues in the New Indian Museum at Calcutta, I then remembered that a broken statue of a similar kind was still standing at Agam Kua, just outside the city of Patna, adorned with a new head and a pair of roughly marked breasts, so as to do duty for the great goddess Mata-Mai...The Agam Kua is a very large and very old brick well...The broken figure is said to have been found in this well, and it seems probable therefore that the two statues were also found either at or near the same place."