By Swami Harshananda
Dhvajastambha literally means ‘flag-post’.
A temple is considered to extend from the garbhamandira (sanctum) to the dhvajastambha.
Since a temple is considered as the ‘palace’ of God, it must have a flag-post in front of it, in a prominent place. The lāñchana or insignia made of copper or brass, fixed like a flag to the top of the post, varies according to the deity in the temple. The figure on the lañchana is invariably that of the vāhana (the mount) of the deity. For instance, the Śiva temples contains Nandi, the Devī temples have the lion and the Viṣṇu temples have Garuḍa on its Dhvajastambha.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore