Know The History Of Flags In Ancient India

Flag of Travancore, former Princely State of India.
Flag of Travancore, former Princely State of India.

By- Khushi Bisht

In India, flags have been used since five to seven thousand years ago, when they were primarily employed for military purposes and to symbolize numerous empires and dynasties. Every empire had its own independent flag, as well as separate flags for distinct regiments of its armed forces commanded by military leaders of varying ranks.

Seizing the opponent's flag was almost always considered a triumph throughout history, and a combatant who accomplished so was instantly hailed as a champion. In this article, we will discuss some ancient Indian flags and what they signified in the past.

Dhwaja or Flags In Indian Mythology

The Dhwaja or flag is mentioned in Indian mythology as well as the great ancient Indian epics. The Mahabharata, for example, includes numerous portrayals of flags. These flags, on the other hand, were the emblems of the fighter whose chariot the flag was placed above.

Guru Dronacharya's flag featured a deer-skin-covered kamandal (reliquary).Wikimedia Commons

Every character of the Mahabharata has its own flags, each of which showed something different. For example, Bhishma Pitamaha's flag had a palm tree emblem, Arjuna's flag featured Lord Hanuman; Duryodhana's flag featured a snake adorned with gold and jewels, and Guru Dronacharya's flag featured a deer-skin-covered kamandal (reliquary).

Flags In The Ancient Indian Empire

In ancient times, an empire had many official flags that were used for different objectives. The ancient Indian flags typically didn't aim to reflect the inhabitants of the region but rather the emperor's vision and emblem.

Let us now look at the flags of some empires in ancient India.

Mauryan Empire

The Mauryan empire, one of the world's greatest empires at the time, was founded by Chandragupta Maurya in Magadha and had its headquarters in Pataliputra (now Bihar), ruled the Indian subcontinent from 322 to 185 BCE. The Mauryas used a variety of military flags, and each unit of the cavalry employed a distinct standardized layout.

Flag of Mauryan Empire (322BCE-185BCE)Wikimedia Commons

The splendor of the military chariots was enhanced by these flags. Capturing the opponents' flag on the battleground was a wonderful accomplishment in a war. Different flags utilized different symbols.

Birds such as the swan, peacock, eagle, animals such as the monkey, boar, bull, elephant, and many more were depicted on the flags. Thunderbolts, palm trees, wheels, bows, and other symbols were also represented.

The Chola Dynasty

This picture shows the flag of the Chola kingdom. Wikimedia Commons

The Cholas were South India's greatest spanning dynasty, reigning until the thirteenth century A.D. from the second part of the ninth century. Cholas, the early Tamil emperors had their own flags with some unique symbols on them. Fish, bow, and tiger symbols were all utilized in the flag design. Because their imperial flag has a leaping tiger on a reddish backdrop, the Chola flag was also regarded as the Tiger Flag.

The Vijayanagara Empire

Flag of the Vijayanagara Empire.Wikimedia Commons

In 1336 A.D., Hindu prince Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya of the Sangama dynasty founded the Vijayanagara kingdom. The Vijayanagara Empire's regal symbol showed a boar, which was really Varaha, Lord Vishnu's ten avatars (incarnations). The imperial symbol is completed with the sun, moon, and dagger.

The Maratha Empire

The flag of the Maratha Empire.Wikimedia Commons

The Marathas were originally soldiers in the armies of the Deccan Sultanates but later Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj founded an autonomous empire by the mid of 1660 A. D. The Marathas owned two flags, Bhagwa Jhanda (Saffron Flag) and Jaripataka. The saffron color symbolizes Hinduism and the very same saffron-colored banner can still be found in temples all around India,

The Kingdom Of Travancore

Flag of Travancore, former Princely State of India.Wikimedia Commons

The Travancore royal line governed the Kingdom of Travancore, a rich princely empire in Kerala, from 1729 until 1949. The Kingdom of Travancore's flag has a conch shell on a red background.

The depictions of flags show that great emperors and warriors chose emblems after much thought and following their religious, spiritual, and intellectual tendencies.

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