India’s National Emblem

The state emblem depicts four lions, standing back to back. It is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka, near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the capital is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra).

The Lion Capital was erected in the third century BC by Asoka to mark the spot where Buddha first delivered his sermon.

In the State emblem, adopted by the Government of India on 26 January 1950, only three lions are visible, the fourth being hidden from view.

The four lions symbolizing power, courage and confidence, rest on a circular abacus. The abacus is girdled by four smaller animals — guardians of the four directions: the lion of the north, the elephant of the east, bull of the west and horse of the south {you can remember this by analogy NEWS→ LEBH}. The abacus rests on a lotus in full bloom, exemplifying the fountainhead of life and creative inspiration.  The words Satyameva Jayate (meaning ‘truth alone triumphs’) from Mundaka Upanishad are inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script. The use of the state emblem of India, as the official seal of the Government of India, is regulated by the state of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005.


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