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ID:	293Its common to see what is known as the "dhwaja sthambha" or simply "flag post" in the vicinity of almost all ancient temples, but rarely do we think about its significance. This post will throw some light on this topic.

The Dhwaja Stambha is a structure present in a straight line from the deity, just before the Vahana of the deity, which is also in the same line. During a festival, the Dhwaja Stambha is decorated with several types of flags to celebrate that event. It can be noted that the Dhwaja Stambha gives an idea to a devotee about the idol installed in the temple and about the Vahana or Vehicle used by the deity. It also announces about a festival in a temple. An expert in Agama shastra could figure out such details of a temple merely by looking at the dhwaja sthambh.

Usually, a kingdom is marked by a flag which signifies that, that place(kshetram) belongs to a particular King. Likewise, ancient temples which are the abodes of different deities are sometimes called "Sri kshetram" & as such the dhwaja sthambh demarkates the area as that which belongs to the deity.
Its customary to hoist a flag on the sthambh before the commencement of a festival as it serves as an indication for tourists & local people about the festival.

An interesting argument put forth by certain scientific thinkers is that the dhwaja sthambh not only serves as a medium with philosophical significance but also contains a scientific one which is that it works as a "lightning arrestor rod".

It is beyond doubt that the "garbha griha"(chief sanctorum), i.e the place where the idol of the deity is present is the most important structure in the temple. Hence, it must be protected from all sorts of calamities, even if it is at the cost of another structure in the temple. Calamities in the form of invasions were checked by the army of the ruling Kingdom. However, the same cannot be done in the case of natural calamities, particularly lightning in our case.

It can be noticed that the top of the Dhwaja Stambha is the highest point of the temple, and if lightning were to strike, the temple would be saved from the devastating damage that could have been caused otherwise.