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Asiatic Lion

Scientific NamePanthera leo persica Lion
Common NameAsiatic lion , Sher (Hindi), Singam (Tamil), Simhaha (Sanskrit)
DistributionConfined to the Gir forest in Gujarat
Conservation StatusCritically endangered (CR)
Goddess Durga riding a lion

In religion and mythology

Narasimha, the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu was half-man (Nara) and half-lion (Simha). He killed a demon named Hiranyakashipu.

Goddess Durga, the fierce form of the Goddess Parvati, is often depicted as a warrior-Goddess, who destroys demons. She is referred to as ‘Sheravali’ in the northern parts of the country, as her vahana is a lion.

A black coloured lion is the vahana of Rahu, the serpent navagraha.

Narasimha avatara of Lord Vishnu

The Lion is also one of the important symbols in Buddhism. It is associated with royalty, strength and power. The teachings of Buddha are sometime referred to as the ‘Lion’s roar of dharma’. In Buddhist art, lions are often depicted as the protector of dharma, supporting the throne of Lord Buddha.

The state emblem of India is adopted from the famous lion capital on the Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. The capital was erected by Emperor Ashoka to mark the site where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his five disciples.

National emblem of the Republic of India

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