From the day of India’s independence, national symbols of india have become its identity or rather I must say India gained a new identity after independence. The identity that many of you may not be aware of but the symbols are something you are aware of. These symbols are not just any symbol but they depict every little aspect of India. It’s culture, its history also its people. These symbols can be found across India but there are few selected places or cities where you can see them the best. Let me drop down all the national symbols of India and the best places to see them:
National Emblem – Sarnath
Known as the lion capital of Ashoka. It used to form the top of the pillar of Ashoka thus, it got its name. It can now be found at ASI museum in Sarnath. On entering the museum, you can see the giant sculpture of 4 Asiatic lions facing four sides welcoming you. The four Lion sit on a pedestal which consists of a wheel, a horse, a lion, a bull and an elephant. This pedestal sits on an inverted lotus.
You may have seen the lion capital at places like Vaishali in Bihar, but as this one is kept in a museum and is not situated on top of some pillar you realize the size of the capital. It is also said that a huge wheel with 24 spokes used to sit on top of this capital. Many may remember reading or hearing that Sarnath is the same place which is associated with setting the wheel of dharma in motion. This is also the place where Buddha gave his first sermon to his first 5 followers.
The lion capital of Ashoka along with the verse from Mundaka Upanishad that reads ‘Satyamev Jayate’ completes the national emblem of India. Even if you have not seen the real structure you see the emblem every day as it is imprinted on every currency note in India.
National Flower – Take A Trip To The Rural Areas
The national flower, Lotus can be found literally across the country. If you love travelling and you are travelling across India, you would notice that Lotus truly is the flower that can represent India. My personal favourite place to spot Lotus is in those little village ponds. A trip to the rural India is not only relaxing and brings you closer to nature but you can spot your country’s national flower everywhere.
I remember spotting a blue lotus in Sibasagar, Assam. In Goan villages, you can spot small versions of lotus along with the big ones. When you see for yourself that how the water is floating on the leaves and petals of the flower but still it remains unharmed you will realize why it is the national flower of India.
Lotus has been a part of ancient India’s art for a long time. You can find it in both Hindu and Buddhist iconography. Lotus is also a symbol of purity and auspiciousness. Experience this feeling with a trip to the rural India.
The National Animal – The Royal Bengal Tiger
The famous Royal Bengal Tiger is found only in the Indian subcontinent. Now, you can guess why it is our national animal. There was a time when they were found in most regions of India. But now due to poachers, the number has reduced. The scenario is such that today you must travel a certain distance to see them. Thankfully, due all the wildlife reserve and protection laws the numbers have again started to increase. Once while I was vacationing amidst the beauty and serenity of Sunderbans I had a close rendezvous with a royal Bengal tiger.
Other good places to see tigers are Ranthambore in Rajasthan and Bandhavgarh National Park in MP. There are many tiger reserves across the country but all aren’t open to the public. Taking a trip to these places will be a beautiful experience and a wonderful vacation for the families who are still thinking where to take the kids this summer vacation.
The National Aquatic Animal – River Dolphin
Many of you may not know that River Dolphin or Susu is India’s national aquatic animal. It used to be found in abundance in river Ganga. These freshwater river Dolphins were also seen in rivers like Brahmaputra and Indus.
At this point in time, the best place to see a river Dolphin is Chambal River as some riverine ecosystem is still left in it. Although the increasing Global Warming and the reducing depth of the rivers are posing threats to the dolphins. Did you know there is even a Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary in Bhagalpur, Bihar? Take a trip down to this place and meet the national aquatic animal of India.
National Tree – Banyan Tree
Banyan tree, the native tree of India that can be traced back to all the ancient Indian literature. The 5 Banyan trees that make Panchvati near Nashik will surely give you goosebumps. Not because the place looks scary but because the trees are so huge. It is under the Banyan tree that Buddha attained Nirvana in Bodhgaya. The Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya still has the decedent of the tree. It is a good place to take your kids and tell them about Buddha and his teachings.
Because of its cyclic nature and self-perpetuating qualities, Banyan tree is considered sacred. It is interesting to know how some of the symbols of India depict the philosophy of the land.
National Bird Peacock – Rajasthan
This colourful bird is an eye turner. Whether you see it in any national park or you just take a trip to Rajasthan. But to grace your eyes with its real beauty you must see it dancing with its feathers wide open or when it is trying to woo a peafowl.
National Flag – Delhi
The Indian national flag also called Tiranga or Tricolour can be seen everywhere in India mainly on top of government offices or buildings. But it can be mostly seen in Delhi the capital of India. It becomes ubiquitous on the Independence and Republic day. It is on these days that it graces the Red fort in Delhi. These 2 are the best time to visit Delhi and get submerged in patriotism.