The Nandyavarta symbol comes from two ancient religions. The symbol itself is a maze symbol with four arms with nine turns and corners. One of the religions where the Nandyavarta symbol appears is the ancient Indian religion, Jainism. The Nandyavarta symbol is one of the three auspicious signs and one of the eight auspicious symbols from the Svetambara sect. It is a teaching tool and symbol of an enlightened mind that is sometimes used for worship.
The Nandyavarta is also a symbol for two Tirthankaras or spiritual leaders in Jainism. In the Svetambara sect, the Nandyavarta symbolizes the eighteenth Tirthankar Aranatha, and in the Digambara sect, it represents the seventh Tirthankar Supershvanatha. In Jainism scriptures, it is said that followers must draw the auspicious symbols, including the Nandyavarta symbol, in unbroken rice before they can start their daily prayers. The Nandyavarta symbol is a symbol of joy and prosperity in Jainism.
In Hinduism, the Nandyavarta symbol is based on the lunar swastika, a sacred and mysterious symbol. When meditating and following the Nandyavarta symbol inward, the eye will follow a route leading to the center. There will be a choice of three routes outward from the center of the Nandyavarta symbol. The three routes represent the three paths to salvation in Hinduism: the karma-marga which is the path of duties, the jnana-marga which is the path of knowledge, and the bhakti-marga which is the path of devotion. The Nandyavarta is a symbol of inner mysteries to be found in the unconscious, the womb, and the Holy of Holies. In Hinduism, the Nandyavarta symbol is a good omen.
Ancient Indian cities were planned using the Nandyavarta symbol. The Nandyavarta symbol was also used in ancient Indian art and has been found on images of the Buddha and vijnaptipatra, which were scrolls used to encourage travelling between cities. The symbol is still drawn in rice and can be found on greeting cards, postcards, tattoos, fine art, and prints.