Ranjana script

The Rañjanā script (Lantsa[2]) is an abugida writing system which developed in the 11th century[3] 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 and Nepalbhasa. 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.[3] It is normally written from left to right but the Kutakshar form is written from top to bottom.[3] It is also considered to be the standard Nepali calligraphic script.

Shukla Ranjana Lipi II.svg
'Ranjana Lipi' in Ranjana script
Script type
Time period
c. 1100–present
RegionNepal and India
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
Sister systems
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Ranj, 303 Edit this on Wikidata, ​Ranjana
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.


Rañjanā is a Brahmic script which developed around 1100 CE. It is used in India and in Nepal by the Newar people to write the Newar language.[2] The script is also used in most of the Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries.[4] Along with the Prachalit Nepal alphabet, it is considered one of the scripts of Nepal.[5] It is the formal script of Nepal duly registered in the United Nation while applying for the free Nation.[citation needed] Therefore, it is a vital script to all Nepalese as well.

The Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra lettered in gold ink by Bhiksu Ananda of Kapitanagar and dating back to the Nepal Sambat year 345 (1215 CE) is an early example of the script.[6]



  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   ã अँ   aṃ अं   ay अय्   āy आय्   ey 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

Vowel diacriticsEdit

The shape of the combining marks indicating the vowels आ ā, ए e, ऐ ai/ē,ओ o, and औ au/ō in Ranjana script take a different form when combined with the eight consonants ख kha, ग ga, n ञ nya, ठ ṭha ण ṇa, थ tha, ध dha or श sha(or where one of these is the first consonant in a combination)[7] (In addition the vertical marks indicating आ ā or ī may take a shorter form when combined with the consonants क ka, ज्ञ ja, or ठ ṭha.)


  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.[8][9] 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 a ra pa ca na dhi."[10][11][12] The script is also used in Hindu scriptures.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15] In Vietnam, Rañjanā script is often used during Buddhist rituals especially by monks in the central region such as Huế. Talismans are often made using Rañjanā mantras read "Om mani padme hum" or "Om cale cule cundi svaha" the mantra of Cundi Bodhisattva. The script has also been adopted by Vietnamese folk shamans in their use of amulets such as Lỗ Ban phái, a Taoist folk sect that arrived from China named after Lu Ban, patron god of carpenters.[16]

Use in TibetEdit

When Rañjanā was introduced to Tibet, it was referred to as Lanydza (Tibetan: ལཉྫ་), which simply derives from the Sanskrit word Rañja.[14][failed verification] This script varies slightly from the standard Rañjanā. In Tibet, the Lanydza variant is used to write original texts of Sanskrit.[17] 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:

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

Monogram (Kutākshar)Edit

A Kutākshar monogram on the facade of the Jana Bahal.

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 NepalEdit

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.[18]

A Unicode block for the script has also been proposed by Evertype.[19]



  1. ^ Masica, Colin (1993). The Indo-Aryan languages. p. 143.
  2. ^ a b Omniglot[self-published source?]
  3. ^ a b c Jwajalapa[self-published source?] Archived 2007-03-10 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Folk tales from the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal: Black rice and other stories, p.47, Kesar Lall, Ratna Pustak Bhandar
  5. ^ Nepalese Inscriptions in the Rubin Collection
  6. ^ Nagarjuna Institute: Buddhist Sites of Nepal - Hiraynavarna Mahavihara
  7. ^ Shakya, Robison (2002). Alphabet of the Nepalese Script:Nepāla lipi varṇamālā. Nakabahila Lalitpur: Motirāj Śhākya, Thayakalaya. p. 23. ISBN 9993334367.
  8. ^ "Preliminary proposal for encoding the Rañjana script in the SMP of the UCS" (PDF). 2006. 3649.
  9. ^ [1], Preservation of Sanskrit Buddhist Manuscripts in the Kathmandu Valley: Its importance and future, Min Bahadur Shakya
  10. ^ Teachings og Buddha[self-published source?]
  11. ^ Dharma Haven[self-published source?]
  12. ^ Ranjana font[self-published source?]
  13. ^ Asian art
  14. ^ a b Chattopadhayaya, Alaka (1999). Atisa and Tibet: Life and Works of Dipamkara Srijnana: p. 201
  15. ^ Jiang, Wu (2008). Enlightenment in Dispute: The Reinvention of Chan Buddhism in Seventeenth-Century China: p. 146
  16. ^ "Ma Phương :: Tinh Hoa Đông Phương". maphuong.com. Retrieved 2021-08-24.
  17. ^ Ranjana script and Nepal Bhasa (Newari) language
  18. ^ Ranjana Script[self-published source?]
  19. ^ Preliminary proposal for encoding the Rañjana script in the SMP of the UCS

External linksEdit