Nepalese banknotes

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Between 1945 and 2007 Nepalese banknotes were issued with the portraits of four different kings. Starting in October 2007 the king’s portrait was replaced by Mount Everest on all notes which have been issued since.

1945 - 1955[edit]

The early banknotes which were issued between 1945 and 1955 during the rule of King Tribhuvan were not put into circulation by a Central Bank which did not exist in Nepal at that time. The issuing authority was the treasury which had the name Sadar Muluki Khana. Therefore, the notes of king Tribhuvan were not signed by a bank governor, but by a Kajanchi (head of the treasury) who was a high Hindu priest in the same time. Nepal’s early paper currency probably includes the only notes of the world which were signed by a high priest. These early notes were printed by the Indian Security Press in Nashik and do not have any security features, except for the water marks and the special paper on which they are printed.

1955 - 1972[edit]

Starting with King Mahendra who succeeded to his father Tribhuvan in 1955, the banknotes were issued by Nepal Rastra Bank (Nepal National Bank) which was founded in April 1956. The signature of the governors of this institution is found on the banknotes which were issued after this date. Under king Mahendra the Nepalese Government became “His Majesty’s Government” (expressed by "shri 5 ko sarakar" which literally means “the government of the five times honoured”) and remained this way during the rule of Birendra and Gyanendra. Two series of banknotes were issued during the rule of king Mahendra: The first series shows the king in civilian clothes wearing the Nepalese “topi” while on the notes of the second series the king is shown in military uniform. The second series comprised for the first time notes of the high value of 500 and 1000 rupees.

1972 - 2001[edit]

During King Birendra’s rule one can also distinguish between two major series of banknotes. The first series features the king wearing military uniform while on the notes of the second series the king is wearing the traditional Nepalese crown adorned with feathers of the bird of paradise. During this period regular banknotes of 2 and 20 rupees and special banknotes of 25 and 250 rupees were issued for the first time.

2002 (King Birendra) series
Image Value Main Colour Description Date of issue
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
Nepalese Obverse of 1 ₨ (1981).jpg Nepalese Reverse of 1 ₨ (1981).jpg 1 rupee Brown King Birendra with plumed crown, Pashupatinath Temple Pair of Kasturi Mirga, Mount Everest in background 1981
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.

2001 - 2007[edit]

The banknotes issued during this period have the same basic design as those of King Birendra whose portrait was simply replaced by that of his younger brother and successor Gyanendra. The low values of 1 and 2 rupees, and the special values of 25 and 250 rupees were not issued any more.

The legends found on the last issues of Gyanendra revert to Nepal sarakar (“Nepalese Government”), thus omitting the reference to the king.

2002 (King Gyanendra) series
Image Value Main Colour Description Date of issue
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
Nepalese Obverse of 5 ₨ (2002).jpg Nepalese Reverse of 5 ₨ (2002).jpg 5 rupees Pink King Gyanendra with plumed crown, Goddess Taleju Temple Pair of Yaks, Mount Everest in background 2002
Nepalese Obverse of 10 ₨ (2002).jpg Nepalese Reverse of 10 ₨ (2002).jpg 10 rupees Golden brown King Gyanendra with plumed crown, image of Lord Changunarayan (a form of an appearance of Vishnu) on Garuda Black bucks
20 rupees orange, gold King Gyanendra with plumed crown, Lord Krishna in Lalitpur swamp deer
50 rupees Blue King Gyanendra with plumed crown, Ram Janaki Temple in Janakpur Thar
50 rupees Green, red King Gyanendra in Nepalese national dress, Nepal Rashtra Bank head office, bank golden jubilee logo, Mount Machhapuchchre, Ashoka Pillar in Lumbini Mount Ama Dablam, pair of danphe 2006
100 rupees Green King Gyanendra with plumed crown; Mounts Nuptse, Everest and Lhotse; Nyatapola Temple in Bhaktapur Rhinoceros 2002
500 rupees Brown King Gyanendra with plumed crown, Mount Ama Dablam, Thyangboche monastery Pair of tigers 2003
1,000 rupees Blue, grey King Gyanendra with plumed crown, Swayambhunath and Harati Temples in Kathmandu Elephants
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.

2007/2008[edit]

In October 2007, a 500 rupee note was issued on which the king’s portrait was replaced by and image of Mount. Everest. This reflects the historical change from kingdom to republic which took place in May 2008 in Nepal. Further notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 1,000 rupees with Mount Everest and without references to the king in their legends followed in 2008. The first issues of the 500 and 1000 rupees notes were printed on paper which still had the king's crowned portrait as a watermark in the "window" on the right part of the face of the notes. It was decided to print a red Rhododendron flower (Nepal's national flower) on top of the watermark. Notes of these denominations which were issued in 2009 and thereafter are printed on paper which has a Rhododenron flower as watermark instead of the royal portrait and were therefore released without the additional overprint in red.

2007 (Mount Everest) series
Image Value Main Colour Description Date of issue
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
5 rupees Pink Mount Everest, Goddess Taleju Temple Pair of Yaks, Mount Everest in background 2008
Nepalese Obverse of 10 ₨ (2008).jpg Nepalese Reverse of 10 ₨ (2008).jpg 10 rupees Golden brown Mount Everest, image of Lord Changunarayan (a form of an appearance of Vishnu) on Garuda Black bucks
20 rupees orange, gold Mount Everest, Lord Krishna in Lalitpur swamp deer
Obverse of 50 ₨.jpg Reverse of 50 ₨.jpg 50 rupees Blue Mount Everest, Ram Janaki Temple in Janakpur Thar
Nepalese Obverse of 100 ₨ (2008).jpg Nepalese Reverse of 100 ₨ (2008).jpg 100 rupees Green Mount Everest; Mounts Nuptse, Everest and Lhotse; Nyatapola Temple in Bhaktapur Rhinoceros
500 rupees brown Mount Everest left, Mount Ama Dablam and Thyangboche monastery centre background, rhododendron over watermark Pair of tigers 2007
1,000 rupees Blue, grey Mount Everest, Swayambhunath and Harati Temples in Kathmandu Elephants 2008
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.

2012/2013[edit]

In 2012, Nepal Rastra Bank issued a revised banknote series that are similar to the 2007 series, but now include inscriptions in English and the date of issue on the back.

2012-2015 (Mount Everest) series
Image Value Main Colour Description Date of issue
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
Nepalese Obverse of 5 ₨ (2012).jpg Nepalese Reverse of 5 ₨ (2012).jpg 5 Rupees Lilac, brown and green Mount Everest; temple of Taleju; obverse of coin Two yaks grazing; Mount Everest 2012
Obverse of 10 ₨ 2012.jpg Reverse of 10 ₨ 2012.jpg 10 Rupees Brown, green and lilac Mount Everest; Garud Narayan of Changu Narayan temple Three black bucks grazing; trees; bank logo 2012
20 Rupees Orange and Brown Mount Everest; temple of god Krishna of Patan; Garuda atop pillar Swamp deer; trees; mountain; bank logo 2012
Nepalese Obverse of 50 ₨ (2012).jpg Nepalese Reverse of 50 ₨ (2012).jpg 50 Rupees Purple, Green and Blue Mount Everest; Rama-Janaki temple of Janakpur Male thar; mountains; bank logo 2012
50 Rupees Purple, Green and Blue Mount Everest; Rama-Janaki temple of Janakpur Snow leopard 2015
100 Rupees Green and Lilac Mount Everest; Mayadevi inside silver metallic oval; map of Nepal; Ashoka pillar; wood carvings from temple of Taleju in Kathmandu; description "Lumbini - The Birthplace of Lord Buddha" One-horned rhinoceros in grassy plain; bank logo 2012
Nepalese Obverse of 500 ₨ (2012).jpg Nepalese Reverse of 500 ₨ (2012).jpg 500 Rupees Brown and violet Mount Everest; god Indra; Mount Amadablam and Thyangboche monastery; wood carvings; clouds Two tigers drinking melted snow 2012
Nepalese Obverse of 1000 ₨ (2013) 01.jpg Nepalese Reverse of 1000 ₨ (2013) 02.jpg 1,000 Rupees Blue and gray Mount Everest, Swayambhunath stupa & Harati temple Elephant 2013
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.

Currency unit[edit]

The currency unit of the Tribhuvan and early Mahendra notes was the mohar (spelt moru on the banknotes), which originally was a silver coin which weighed about 5.4 grams and represented about half an Indian Rupee. The later notes of Mahendra and the issues of the subsequent rulers Birendra and Gyanendra were issued with the denomination rupee (spelt rupaya[n] on the notes).

Printers[edit]

The banknotes with the portrait of The King Tribhuvan were printed in Nashik (India). The later issues were supplied by firms such as De La Rue and Giesecke & Devrient.

References[edit]

  • Agrawal (Giriya), Shyam and Gyawali, Kamal Prasad: Notes and Coins of Nepal. Nepal Rastra Bank Golden Jubilee Year 2005/06, Kathmandu, 2006.
  • Bertsch, Wolfgang: "The Legends on the Banknotes of Nepal", International Banknote Society (IBNS) Journal, vol. 48, no. 3, 2009, p. 39-44.
  • Jha, Hari Jaya: An Overview of Nepalese Paper Money. Manjeeta Jha, Lalitpur (Patan), B.S. 2058 (= A.D. 2001).
  • Lorenzoli, Giovanni: “Nepali artistic buildings as seen on Nepali notes”. Journal of the International Banknote Society, vol. 43, no. 3 (2004), p. 6-14.
  • Shrestha, Ramesh: Nepalese Coins & Bank Notes (1911 to 1955). Kazi Mudhusudan Raj Bhandary, Kathmandu, 2007.
  • Wittmann, Hans: Die Banknoten des Königreichs Nepal. Unpublished, Wiesbaden, 2002.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]