GK Article – 1: National Symbols of India

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GK Article: National Symbols of India


  1. National Flag
  2. State Emblem
  3. National Anthem
  4. National Song
  5. National Calendar
  6. National River
  7. National Bird
  8. National Flower
  9. National Animal
  10. National Tree
  11. National Fruit
  12. National Currency Symbol
  13. National Aquatic Animal
  14. National Motto

National Symbols of India

A.National Flag

  • The National Flag is a tricolour panel made up of three rectangular panels or sub-panels of equal width.
  • The colour of the top panel is India saffron (kesari) and that of the bottom panel India green.
  • The middle panel is white, bearing at its centre the design of Ashoka Chakra in navy blue colour with 24 equally spaced spokes.
  • The Ashoka Chakra shall preferably be screen printed or otherwise printed or stenciled or suitably embroidered and shall be completely visible on both sides of the Flag in the centre of the white panel.
  • The ratio of the length to the height (width) of the Flag shall be 3:2.
  • The Flag Code of India, spells the rules and regulations related to the flag.

B.State Emblem

  • The State Emblem of India is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath.
  • In the original, the Lion Capital has four lions mounted back to back, on a circular abacus.
  • The frieze of the abacus is adorned with sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening Dharma Chakras.
  • The abacus rests on a bell shaped lotus.
  • The profile of the Lion Capital showing three lions mounted on the abacus with a Dharma Chakra in the centre, a bull on the right and a galloping horse on the left, and outlines of Dharma Chakras on the extreme right and left was adopted as the State Emblem of India on January 26, 1950.
  • The bellshaped lotus was omitted.
  • The motto “Satyameva Jayate”-Truth alone triumphs—written in Devanagari script below the profile of the Lion Capital is part of the State Emblem of India.
  • In the State Emblem lies the official seal of the Government of India.
  • Its use is regulated by the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005 and The State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Rules, 2007 [read with State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Amendment Rules, 2010].

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C.National Anthem

  • The song Jana-gana-mana, composed originally in Bangla by Rabindranath Tagore, was adopted in its Hindi version by the Constituent Assembly as the National Anthem of India on January 24, 1950.
  • It was first sung on December 27, 1911 at the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress.
  • The complete song consists of five stanzas.
  • The first stanza contains the full version of the National Anthem:
  • The playing time of the full version of the National Anthem is approximately 52 seconds.
  • A short version consisting of the first and last lines of the National Anthem (playing time approximately 20 seconds) is also played on certain occasions.

D.National Song

  • The song Vande Mataram, composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterji, was a source of inspiration to the people in their struggle for freedom.
  • It has an equal status with Jana-gana-mana.
  • The first political occasion when it was sung was the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress

E.National Calendar

  • The National Calendar based on the Saka Era, with Chaitra as its first month and a normal year of 365 days was adopted from March 22, 1957 along with the Gregorian calendar.
  • The following official purposes :

(i) Gazette of India,

(ii) news broadcast by All India Radio,

(iii) calendars issued by the Government of India and

(iv) Government communications addressed to the public.

  • Dates of the National Calendar have a permanent correspondence with dates of the Gregorian Calendar, 1 Chaitra falling on March 22 normally and on March 21 in leap year.

F.National River

  • The Ganga or Ganges is the longest river of India flowing over 2,510 kms of mountains, valleys and plains.
  • It originates in the snowfields of the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas as the Bhagirathi River.
  • It is later joined by other rivers such as the Alaknanda, Yamuna, Son, Gumti, Kosi and Ghagra.
  • The Ganga basin is one of the most fertile and densely populated areas of the world and covers an area of 1,000,000 sq. kms.
  • There are two dams on the river – one at Haridwar and the other at Farakka.
  • The Ganges River Dolphin is an endangered animal that specifically habitats this river.
  • The Ganga is revered by Hindus as the most sacred river on earth. Key religious ceremonies are held on the banks of the river at cities such as Varanasi, Haridwar and Allahabad.

G.National Bird

  • The Indian peacock, Pavo cristatus, the national bird of India, is a colourful, swan-sized bird, with a fan-shaped crest of feathers, a white patch under the eye and a long, slender neck.
  • The male of the species is more colourful than the female, with a glistening blue breast and neck and a spectacular bronze-green tail of around 200 elongated feathers.
  • The female is brownish, slightly smaller than the male and lacks the tail.

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H.National Flower

  • Lotus (Nelumbo Nucipera Gaertn) is the National Flower of India.
  • It is a sacred flower and occupies a unique position in the art and mythology of ancient India and has been an auspicious symbol of Indian culture since time immemorial.
  • India is rich in flora. Currently available data place India in the tenth position in the world and fourth in Asia in plant diversity.

I. National Animal

  • The magnificent tiger, Panthera tigris is a striped animal.
  • It has a thick yellow coat of fur with dark stripes.
  • The combination of grace, strength, agility and enormous power has earned the tiger its pride of place as the national animal of India.
  • Out of eight races of the species known, the Indian race, the Royal Bengal Tiger, is found throughout the country except in the north-western region and also in the neighbouring countries, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

J. National Tree

  • Indian fig tree, Ficus bengalensis, whose branches root themselves like new trees over a large area.
  • The roots then give rise to more trunks and branches.
  • Because of this characteristic and its longevity, this tree is considered immortal and is an integral part of the myths and legends of India.
  • Even today, the banyan tree is the focal point of village life and the village council meets under the shade of this tree.

K. National Fruit

  • A fleshy fruit, eaten ripe or used green for pickles etc., of the tree Mangifera indica, the mango is one of the most important and widely cultivated fruits of the tropical world. Its juicy fruit is a rich source of Vitamins A, C and D.
  • In India there are over 100 varieties of mangoes, in different sizes, shapes and colours.
  • Mangoes have been cultivated in India from time immemorial.
  • The poet Kalidasa sang its praises. Alexander savoured its taste, as did the Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsang. Mughal emperor Akbar planted 100,000 mango trees in Darbhanga, Bihar at a place now known as Lakhi Bagh.

L. National Currency Symbol

  • The symbol of Indian Rupee typifies India’s international identity for money transactions and economic strength.
  • The Indian Rupee sign is an allegory of Indian ethos.
  • The symbol is an amalgam of Devanagari “Ra” and the Roman Capital “R” with two parallel horizontal stripes running at the top representing the national flag and also the “equal to” sign.
  • The Indian Rupee sign was adopted by the Government of India on 15th July, 2010.

M. National Aquatic Animal

  • River Dolphin is the National Aquatic Animal of India.
  • This mammal is also said to represent the purity of the holy Ganga as it can only survive in pure and fresh water.
  • River Dolphins are solitary creatures and females tend to be larger than males.
  • They are locally known as susu, because of the noise it makes while breathing.
  • This species inhabits parts of the Ganges, Meghna and Brahmaputra rivers in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, and the Karnaphuli River in Bangladesh.
  • River dolphin is a critically endangered species in India and therefore, has been included in the Schedule I for the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

N. National Motto

  • The Mundaka Upanishad is the source of the phrase Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone triumphs, not falsehood), the national motto of India.
  • It appears in the national emblem.
  • The Mundaka Upanishad opens with declaring Brahma as the first of gods, the creator of the universe, and the knowledge of Brahman (Ultimate Reality, Eternal Principle, Cosmic Soul) to be the foundation of all knowledge.
  • It is a poetic verse style Upanishad, with 64 verses, written in the form of mantras.

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