Travel India Guide: The National Emblem

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National Symbols of India: The National Emblem

The Emblem of India is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka.

Emperor Ashoka the Great erected the capital atop an Ashoka Pillar to mark the spot where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma and where the Buddhist Sangha was founded. In the original there are four Asiatic lions, standing back to back, mounted on a circular abacus with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening Dharmachakra or Ashoka Chakra wheels over a bell-shaped lotus. It was carved out of a single block of polished sandstone.

The version used as the Emblem does not include the fourth lion (since it is hidden from view at the rear) or the bell-shaped lotus flower beneath. The frieze beneath the lions is shown with the Dharma Chakra in the center, a bull on the right and a galloping horse on the left, and outlines of Dharma Chakras on the extreme right and left.

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