Ranjana alphabet

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Languages Nepal Bhasa
Time period
c. 1100–present
Parent systems
Child systems
Sister systems
Street sign in Kathmandu in Ranjana, Devanagari and English.
Signboard of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office in Ranjana script (second row).

The Rañjanā script (syn: Kutila, Lantsa[1]) is an abugida writing system which developed in the 11th century.[2] It is primarily used for writing Nepal Bhasa but is also used in monasteries of India, China, Mongolia, and Japan.[2] It is normally written from left to right but the Kutakshar form is written from top to bottom.[2] It is also considered to be the standard Nepali calligraphic script.


Rañjanā is a Brahmic script and shows similarities to the Devanagari script of northern India and Nepal.[1] The script is also used in most of the Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries.[3] Along with the Prachalit script, it is considered as one of the scripts of Nepal.[4] It is the formal script of Nepal duly registered in the United Nation while applying for the free Nation. Therefore, it is vital script to all Nepalese as well.

The holy book Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, lettered in gold ink, written by Bhiksu Ananda of Kapitanagar and dating back to the Nepal Sambat year 345 (1215 A.D.), is an early example of the script.[5]



Mantra in Rañjanā script, on the ceiling of a Buddhist temple in Tianjin, China.
Ranjana a.svg a अ Ranjana ah.svg aḥ अः Ranjana aa.svg ā आ Ranjana script आः.jpgāḥ आः Ranjana i.svg i इ Ranjana ii.svg ī ई Ranjana u.svg u उ Ranjana uu.svg ū ऊ Ranjana ri.svg ṛ ऋ Ranjana rii.svg ṝ ॠ
Ranjana li.svg ḷ ऌ Ranjana lii.svg ḹ ॡ Ranjana e.svg e ए Ranjana ai.svg ai ऐ Ranjana o.svg o ओ Ranjana au.svg au औ Ranjana script अँ.jpg å अँ Ranjana am.svg aṃ अं Ranjana script अय्.jpg aī अय् Aay.JPGa:j आय् Eey.JPG aĪ एय्


Ranjana k.svg k क Ranjana kh.svg kh ख Ranjana g.svg g ग Ranjana gh.svg gh घ Ranjana ng.svg ṅ ङ
Ranjana c.svg c च Ranjana ch.svg ch छ Ranjana j.svg j ज Ranjana jh.svg jh झ Ranjana ny.svg ñ ञ
Ranjana tt.svg ṭ ट Ranjana tth.svg ṭh ठ Ranjana dd.svg ḍ ड Ranjana ddh.svg ḍh ढ Ranjana nn.svg ṇ ण
Ranjana t.svg t त Ranjana th.svg th थ Ranjana d.svg d द Ranjana dh.svg dh ध Ranjana n.svg n न
Ranjana p.svg p प Ranjana ph.svg ph फ Ranjana b.svg b ब Ranjana bh.svg bh भ Ranjana m.svg m म
Ranjana y.svg y य Ranjana r.svg r र Ranjana l.svg l ल Ranjana v.svg v व
Ranjana sh.svg ś श Ranjana ss.svg ṣ ष Ranjana s.svg s स Ranjana h.svg h ह
Ranjana ksh.svg kṣ क्ष Ranjana tr.svg tr त्र Ranjana jny.svg jñ ज्ञ

Vowel diacritics[edit]

These are the rules for vowel diacritics in Ranjana script. There are altogether three rules where the vowel diacritics of क, ग and ब are given.

  • ख, ञ,ठ,ण,थ,ध,श uses the rule of ग
  • घ,ङ,च,छ,झ,ट,ड,ढ,त,द,न,न्ह,प,फ,ब,भ,म,य,र,ह्र,ल,ल्ह,व,व्ह,ष,स,ह,त्रuses the rule of ब
  • ज,म्ह,ह्य,क्ष, ज्ञuses the rule of क


Ranjana 0.svg 0 ० Ranjana 1.svg 1 १ Ranjana 2.svg 2 २ Ranjana 3.svg 3 ३ Ranjana 4.svg 4 ४ Ranjana 5.svg 5 ५ Ranjana 6.svg 6 ६ Ranjana 7.svg 7 ७ Ranjana 8.svg 8 ८ Ranjana 9.svg 9 ९


Rañjanā "Oṃ" syllables surrounding the implements of the Four Heavenly Kings. Jing'an Temple, Shanghai, China.
Sanskrit manuscript in the Rañjanā script. Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, India, 12th century.

The Rañjanā script is used primarily to write Nepal Bhasa, though sometimes also used to write Sanskrit. In Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist traditions, it is famously used to write various mantras including the "Oṃ maṇipadme hūṃ" mantra of Avalokiteśvara, the mantra of Tara: "Om tare tuttare ture svaha", and the mantra of Manjushri: "Om ara pa cana dhi."[6][7][8] The script is also used in Hindu scriptures.[9]

In Chinese Buddhism and other East Asian Buddhism, the standard Sanskrit script for mantras and dharanis was not the Rañjanā script, but rather the earlier Siddhaṃ script which was widely propagated in China during the Tang Dynasty.[10] However, in late imperial China, the influence of Tibetan Buddhism popularized the Rañjanā script as well, and so this script is also found throughout East Asia, but is not as standard as Siddhaṃ.[11]


When Rañjanā was introduced to Tibet, it was referred to as Lanydza (Tib. ལཉྫ་), which simply derives from the Sanskrit word Rañja.[10] This script varies slightly from the standard Rañjanā. In Tibet, the Lanydza variant is used to write original texts of Sanskrit.[12] Examples of such texts include the Mañjusrinama-samgiti, the Diamond Sūtra (Skt. Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra), and the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra. The Lanydza script is also found in manuscripts and printed editions of some Sanskrit-Tibetan lexicons like the Mahāvyutpatti.

However the most frequent use for this script today is on the title pages of Tibetan texts, where the Sanskrit title is often written in Lanydza, followed by a transliteration and translation in the Tibetan script. The script is also used decoratively on temple walls, on the outside of prayer wheels, and in the drawing of mandalas.

Numerous alternative spellings of the term Lanydza exist, including the following:

  • Lanja
  • Landzha
  • Lantsa
  • Lantsha
  • Lentsa
  • Lendza

Monogram (Kutākshar)[edit]

Kutākshar is a monogram of the Ranjana script. It is only one of the Nepal alphabets that can be written in monogram.

Since 20th century[edit]

After falling into disuse in the mid-20th century, the script has recently seen dramatically increased use. It is used by many local governments such as those of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City, Bhaktapur Municipality, Thimi Municipality, Kirtipur Municipality, Banepa Municipality, in signboards, letterpads, and such. Regular programs are held in the Kathmandu Valley to promote the script and training classes are held to preserve the language. The script is being endorsed by the Nepal Bhasa movement and is used for headings in newspapers and websites.

A Nepalese-German project is trying to conserve the manuscripts of Rañjanā script.[13]

A Unicode block for the script has also been proposed by Evertype.[14]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Omniglot
  2. ^ a b c Jwajalapa
  3. ^ Folk tales from the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal: Black rice and other stories, p.47, Kesar Lall, Ratna Pustak Bhandar
  4. ^ Nepalese Inscriptions in the Rubin Collection
  5. ^ Nagarjuna Institute: Buddhist Sites of Nepal - Hiraynavarna Mahavihara
  6. ^ Teachings og Buddha
  7. ^ Dharma Haven
  8. ^ Ranjana font
  9. ^ Asian art
  10. ^ a b Chattopadhayaya, Alaka (1999). Atisa and Tibet: Life and Works of Dipamkara Srijnana: p. 201
  11. ^ Jiang, Wu (2008). Enlightenment in Dispute: The Reinvention of Chan Buddhism in Seventeenth-Century China: p. 146
  12. ^ Ranjana script and Nepal Bhasa (Newari) language
  13. ^ Ranjana Script
  14. ^ Preliminary proposal for encoding the Rañjana script in the SMP of the UCS

External links[edit]