The Rañjanā script (Lantsa) is an abugida writing system which developed in the 11th century and until the mid-20th century was used in an area from Nepal to Tibet by the Newar people, the historic inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley, to write Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Newari. Many of the most famous Buddhist and Hindu texts produced in the region were written in Ranjana, which became one of the iconic scripts of Nepal. Nowadays it is also used in Buddhist monasteries in India; China, especially in the Tibetan Buddhist areas within the Tibet Autonomous Region, Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai and Gansu; Mongolia, and Japan. It is normally written from left to right but the Kutakshar form is written from top to bottom. It is also considered to be the standard Nepali calligraphic script.
Rañjanā is a Brahmi script and shows similarities to the Devanagari script of the Indian subcontinent, notably in North India and Nepal. The script is also used in most of the Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries. Along with the Prachalit Nepal alphabet, it is considered as one of the scripts of Nepal. It is the formal script of Nepal duly registered in the United Nation while applying for the free Nation. Therefore, it is a vital script to all Nepalese as well.
|a अ||aḥ अः||ā आ||āḥ आः||i इ||ī ई||u उ||ū ऊ||ṛ ऋ||ṝ ॠ|
|ḷ ऌ||ḹ ॡ||e ए||ai ऐ||o ओ||au औ||å अँ||aṃ अं||aj अय्||āj आय्||ej एय्|
|k क||kh ख||g ग||gh घ||ṅ ङ|
|c च||ch छ||j ज||jh झ||ñ ञ|
|ṭ ट||ṭh ठ||ḍ ड||ḍh ढ||ṇ ण|
|t त||th थ||d द||dh ध||n न|
|p प||ph फ||b ब||bh भ||m म|
|y य||r र||l ल||v व|
|ś श||ṣ ष||s स||h ह|
|kṣ क्ष||tr त्र||jñ ज्ञ|
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
|0 ०||1 १||2 २||3 ३||4 ४||5 ५||6 ६||7 ७||8 ८||9 ९|
Rañjana is mostly used for printing Hindu and Buddhist scriptures and literature in Sanskrit and Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit used by the Newar community. Rañjana is also in current use for printing “high status” documents (wedding invitations, certificates, etc) in Nepal in the Newar language and for Newar language book titles. In Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist traditions, it is famously used to write various mantras including the "Om mani padme hum" mantra of Avalokiteśvara, the mantra of Tara: "Om tare tuttare ture svaha", and the mantra of Manjusri: "Om ara pa cana dhi." The script is also used in Hindu scriptures.
In Chinese Buddhism and other East Asian Buddhism, the standard Sanskrit script for mantras and dhāraṇīs was not the Rañjanā script, but rather the earlier Siddhaṃ script that was widely propagated in China during the Tang dynasty. 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 common as Siddhaṃ.
When Rañjanā was introduced to Tibet, it was referred to as Lanydza (Tibetan: ལཉྫ་), which simply derives from the Sanskrit word Rañja.[failed verification] This script varies slightly from the standard Rañjanā. In Tibet, the Lanydza variant is used to write original texts of Sanskrit. Examples of such texts include the Mañjuśrīnāmasamgīti, the Diamond Sutra 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:
Kutākshar is a monogram of the Ranjana script. It is only one of the Nepalese scripts that can be written in monogram.
Since 20th century in modern Nepal
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, letter pads, 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.
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- International group of contemporary practitioners of Nepali calligraphy Calligraphy Nepal (FB)