Lion Capital of Ashoka

Lion Capital of AshokaThe national symbol of India, the Lion capital of Ashoka stands tall at Sarnath. It is a sculpture of four Indian lions that are standing back to back and was originally placed atop the Aśoka pillar at Sarnath.

The famous Mauryan emperor Ashoka in 250 BC had placed it. The Asoka Column stands where it stood originally but the Lion Capital has now been placed in the Sarnath Museum. The National Emblem of India was taken from the Lion Capital of Ashoka and the wheel “Ashoka Chakra” that stands at the centre of the Indian national flag was taken from the base of the Lion Capital of Ashoka.

There are four Indian/Asiatic Lions standing back to back on the Lion Capital and it has been mounted on a short cylindrical abacus with 24-spoked Dharma wheels. There are sculptures of elephant, a bull, a galloping horse and a lion. It is believed that these animals symbolize the different steps of Lord Buddha’s life. Buddha’s idea in context to the dream of Queen Maya of a white elephant entering her womb has been depicted by the elephant. The desires of Buddha as a prince have been depicted by the bull. Buddha’s departure from sumptuous life is represented by the galloping horse while the accomplishment of Buddha is reflected by the lion.

These are not the only interpretations that can be gathered from the capital. Apart from the religious representation of the capital, there are certain non-religious depictions and symbolism of the Lion Capital of Ashoka. The non-religious depictions say that the four lions represent Ashoka’s rule in four directions, his enlightened rule is represented by the wheels and the four animals depict the four adjoining territories in India.

The capital has been carved out of single block of polished sandstone and it is also said that it was crowned by a “Wheel of Dharma” which is known as “Ashoka Chakra” is no more there.


  1. shankar Bhandarkar says:

    We were more civilised than most at that time in History,
    These Facts makes me PROUD of being born in this Lovely country,We have a unbroken history of over 7000 years,We have at all cost retain the lagacy for our new generations to follow, I am filled with Joy at what we gave the world when others did not know the art of dressing we had all that world could offer at that time HERE AND ONLY HERE You SEE CULTURE AT ITS BEST…. JAI HIND

  2. Soumya says:

    This is a very informative page to give us knowledge and to make us learn as we are proud to be Indian.

    • RAJESH KUMAR says:

      recently I vsited sarnath nice ,holy place.

    • satyam says:

      I love the heritage of ancient time India is full of architecture; art economy grate writer’s kings and wealth .india always face invession .in ancient time some Persian and middle east invession (mph ghori and Mahmud gajnavi) they are destroy our religion and become wealthy. After that Britishers came 2 India over 150 years an historian is trully said about wealth of India wealth transfer is just like take water from ganga and drump into thames. Today our politicians are doing same they have account in swiss bank ..that is samfull because it is not foreign invession this is the one of the problem of India that’s why our economy is weak and India facing number of problems…….I think u like my post

  3. Anju Rajput says:

    I proud of my country when i know the fact , the history of my motherland , INDIA . And i proud of myself because i born in a very beautiful and lovely country. There are many unbroken history and treasure . It is a very beautiful cultural country.WISHING THE NEW GENERATION WILL FOLLOW…..JAI HIND

  4. girjashankar says:

    the great king ashoka talk us through this historical sign…. the great india

  5. Ananda Kumar Biswas says:

    Asoka The Great was a marvelous boy in Indian sub continent. He can be asymbol of emancipation of Bhumisuta people in India. He himsiself was a history of India. He is my Rolemodel.

  6. Anand Nambiar says:

    My heart fills with pride while reading this article. Our country has a rich cultural heritage which each one of us should be proud of as well as have the responsibility to protect and pass on to the next generation. Unfortunately, our left leaning politicians and media have the habit of vehemently criticizing anything related to our culture on the ground it belonged to only one particular religion. In fact, our rich heritage belongs to all Indians and not just Hindus.

  7. sonia bali says:

    I am writing on behalf of Pearson India Education Services Private Limited.

    This is regarding a request for permission to include image of Lion Captal of Ashoka in our upcoming GK Series App (Digital) specially meant for children.

    It would be grateful if you could give us permission to reproduce the above mentioned as a part of our digital product.

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you shortly.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Sonia Bali
    Permissions Coordinator

    Rights and Royalties

  8. Dr Vijay Kumar says:

    Indeed, it is a privilege to have been in India which knew the true nature of our lives and how to conduct. Without these ideals, the world would have continued to live in a barbaric era.

  9. Manoj Sharma says:

    Every Indian should know the meaning of lion capital: Natural emblem of india and of many states and UT .The Dhrma chakra and Satya mev Jayate is the our way of living . .

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