The State Emblem of India is in
adaptation from the Sarnath Lion, capital of Ashoka the Emperor as
preserved in the Sarnath Museum. The government adopted the emblem
on 26th January, 1950, the day when India became republic.
In the original Sarnath capital,
there are 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 is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma
Chakra). In the state emblem adopted by the government of India,
only three Lions are visible, the fourth being hidden from view. The
wheel appears in relief in the center of the abacus with a bull on
the right and a horse on the 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.
The emblem forms a part of the
official letterhead of the Government of India, and appears on all
Indian currency as well. It also sometimes functions as the national
emblem of India in many places and appears prominently on the
diplomatic and national Passport of the Republic of India.