The 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.