National Emblem - State Emblem

National Emblem of India is a representative seal of the Republic of India that is adapted from the Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar (based in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh.) India adopted it as the State Emblem on 26th January 1950. The motto of the Indian National Emblem is ‘Satyamev Jayate’ or ‘Truth Alone Triumphs.’

National Emblem is the symbol of authority and is present in all the official communications of the government.

This article is about the National Emblem of India – historical background, rules related to the emblem, meaning of the symbols engraved in it. This topic is important for various government exams in the Prelims section.

State Emblem of India is one of the National Symbols of India. Read about other National Symbols of India from the linked articles below:

National Flag of India National Bird of India
National Flower of India National Anthem of India
National River of India National Aquatic Animal of India
National Animal of India  National Song of India

Brief Facts about National Emblem of India for UPSC

What is the name of the Indian national emblem? The National Emblem of India is called as it is. Interchangeably, it is called the ‘State Emblem’.
National Emblem of India has been adapted from? Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. It was adopted on 26th January 1950, the day Indian Constitution came into force.
How many animals are there in the national emblem of India? Four different animals: – Asiatic Lion, Elephant, Bull, and Horse

The numbers are:

Four Asiatic Lions and one each of Elephant, Horse, and a Bull

How many national emblems are there in India? India has one National Emblem – The National Emblem of India
Who designed the national emblem of India? Dinanath Bhargava sketched and illuminated India’s National Emblem
How many lions are there in Ashoka Pillar? Four Asiatic Lions are present in our National Emblem
What does Ashoka Chakra signify? It is a symbol of Buddhist Dharmachakra, represented with 24 spokes
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What is an Emblem?

An emblem by description is “a heraldic instrument or symbolic object as a unique insignia of a nation, organization, or family”. The National Emblem of a nation is a seal that is earmarked for official purposes and orders the highest admiration and loyalty. For a nation, it is a symbol of power and signifies the foundation of its constitutional values. The Indian National Emblem was accepted on 26 January 1950 by Madhav Sawhney.

According to rules, the National Emblem of India can only be used as per provisions of the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act-2005 and any unauthorized use is punishable under law.

20 Facts about National Emblem of India for UPSC

A list of 14 facts  about Indian National Emblem is provided below:

National Emblem of India

Source –

  1. The Ashoka pillar, erected by Emperor Ashoka, has four lions seated back to back which imply power, courage, confidence and pride.
  2. Other animals demonstrated on the pillar are horse, bull, elephant, and lion.
  3. The elephant denotes Buddha’s outset (the dream of a white elephant entering her womb dreamt by Buddha’s mother at the time of Buddha’s conception).
  4. The bull symbolizes Zodiac sign of Buddha- Taurus.
  5. The horse signifies Buddha’s horse, which he rode at the time of departing from the citadel.
  6. The lion indicates enlightenment.
  7. All the Ashoka Pillars were carved by craftsmen from the same area using stone from Chunar and Mathura.
  8. Each pillar is around 40 to 50 feet in height, and weighing up to 50 tons each, were pulled to where they were raised.
  9. Only six pillars with animal capitals and nineteen pillars persist with inscriptions.
  10. The engravings on the pillars described proclamations about morality grounded on Buddhist doctrines.
  11. The slogan ‘Satyameva Jayate’- “The Truth Alone Triumphs” is engraved below the National Emblem.
  12. Slogan ‘Satyameva Jayate’ is a quote from the Mundaka Upanishad, the closing part of the holy Hindu Vedas.
  13. National Emblem is the official seal of the President of India and Central and State Governments and an inevitable part of the official letterhead of the Government of India.
  14. National Emblem is a part of all Indian currency and the National Passport of the Republic of India.
  15. In the two-dimensional representation of the emblem on the original copy of Indian Constitution, the fourth lion was left out.
  16. Indian Police Service Officers (IPS) wear the state emblem on their caps.
  17. Members of Parliament (MPs) can also use the state emblem on their letterheads and visiting cards.
  18. There is a punishment of imprisonment of up to two years or a fine of up to INR 2000 if someone violates the law concerning the usage of the National Emblem.
  19. Dinanath Bhargava is believed to visit Alipore Zoo in Kolkata to see a lion before he depicts the same on paper.
  20. The National Emblem can be displayed in the following public buildings:
    1. Rashtrapati Bhawan
    2. Parliament House
    3. Supreme Court
    4. Central Secretariat buildings
    5. Raj Bhawan or Raj Niwas
    6. State Legislature
    7. High Courts
    8. Secretariat buildings of the States or the Union territories
    9. Premises of India’s Diplomatic Mission abroad
    10. Residences of Heads of Missions in the countries of their accreditation
    11. At the entrance doors of buildings occupied by India’s Consulates abroad

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National Emblem & the Ashoka Pillar

The National Emblem of India is another version of the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath, conserved in the Sarnath Museum. The pillars of Ashoka are a sequence of columns spread mainly throughout North India, created by the Mauryan king Ashoka during his rule in the 3rd century BC.  In the original Ashoka pillar in Sarnath, there are four lions, standing back to back, fixed on an abacus with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion parted by intervening wheels over a bell-shaped lotus.

To know more about the list of symbols of states and union territories, check the linked article.

In the National emblem, accepted by the Government of India, only three lions are noticeable, the fourth lion is hidden from view as it seated back. The wheel seems in relief in the centre of the abacus with a horse on the left and a bull on the right and the outlines of other wheels on the extreme right and left. The bell-shaped lotus is not there.

UPSC has always asked questions regarding National Emblem, National symbols, National Anthem, and the Official language of India which is an important chapter in the India Yearbook.

National Emblem – UPSC Notes:-Download PDF Here

Aspirants reading, National Emblem of India, can also read about:

Currency Symbol of India Calendars in India 

Frequently Asked Questions on National Emblem


Q 1. What is the National Emblem of India called?

Ans. The Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath is the Indian National Emblem. The words Satyameva Jayate, meaning ‘Truth Alone Triumphs’, are inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script.

Q 2. When was the Indian National Emblem adopted?

Ans. The National Emblem of India was adopted on January 26, 1950, by the Government of India.

Q 3. What do the four lions on Indian National Emblem imply?

Ans. The four lions on the Indian National Emblem symbolize power, courage, confidence, and pride.

Q 5. Who designed the National Emblem of India?

Ans. Dinanath Bhargava sketched and illuminated India’s national emblem. He was assigned the work to design the emblem for the first page of the Indian Constitution.


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