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Lion Capital of Asoka

The Lion Capital of Ashoka is a sculpture, originally atop the Ashoka pillar at Sarnath, of four lions standing back to back. The pillar (sometimes called the Ashoka Column) is still in its original location, but the Lion capital is now in the Sarnath Museum. The Lion capital is the national emblem of India.

Emblem of India

The capital contains four lions, standing back to back, mounted on an abacus with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening wheels over a bell-shaped lotus. Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the capital was crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra), which has now been lost.

In the emblem adopted by the Government of India on January 26, 1950, only three lions are visible, the fourth being hidden from view. The wheel appears in relief in the centre of the abacus with a bull on right and a horse on left and the outlines of other wheels on extreme right and left. The bell-shaped lotus has been omitted. The words Satyameva Jayate from Mundaka Upanishad, meaning 'Truth Alone Triumphs', are inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script.

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