World Reviewer rating

Worth a visit
Rating 1.1 (137 votes)

The Mauryan Lion Capital

Listed under Works of Art in Varanasi, India.

Photo of The Mauryan Lion Capital
Photo by flickr user permanently scatterbrained
Pin It

During the years of the Mauryan dynasty, Emperor Ashoka conquered much of what we regard as India today. After many years of conflict, Ashoka renounced violence and converted to Buddhism, the principles of which he spread throughout India and the rest of Asia. A time of peace followed, during which many glorious works of art were commissioned by Ashoka himself, in honour of Buddha and his message.

One of these, the most imposing and best known, consisted of four lions carved from a single block of polished sandstone, sitting back to back, facing outwards, with fearsome, noble roars frozen on their faces. It was designed as the capital of a huge column built in Sarnath to honour Ashoka’s visit, and in its capacity as a symbol of the royal emperor and the royal Buddha, it came to represent power, strength, courage, justice, and was eventually taken up as the national symbol of India.

The country’s four symbolic animals, a lion, and elephant, a horse and a bull for the North, South, East and West of India follow each other around the base, which is carved in the form of an abacus, and also carries lotus and wheel symbols.

Today, it lies protected in the archaeological museum at Sarnath, though its column still stands where it was first built, on the site of the Buddha’s first sermon.

Written by  larapiegeler.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

There are no posts. Why not be the first to have your say?

Post a comment, review or question

I want to
Question
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?
 

Who's been here

No travelers have told us they have been here. Have you?

Similar Experiences

  • Guernica (Picasso)

    This famous painting by Picasso is 'about' the Nazi bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. It's …

  • The Last Supper (Da Vinci)

    The Last Supper (Italian: Il Cenacolo or L'Ultima Cena) is a 15th century mural painting in Milan created by Leonardo da Vinci …

  • The Creation of Adam (Michelangelo)

    'The Creation of Adam is a fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti circa 1511. It illus…

Nearby Experiences

  • Ramnagar Fort

    Inside Ramnagar Fort is a museum, which tells you the history of the fort and its inhabitants.  It also keeps a rare collecti…

  • Ghats of Varanasi

    All along the Varanasi river front are temples and palaces built in the 18th and 19th centuries, and below them are terraces an…

  • Chunar Fort

    Not India's most impressive fort, this one needs looking at closely to appreciate it properly, because much of the appeal is in…

Related links

Contribute to this page