19 October 2015

Currency Symbol of Bhutan

In 2011, I wrote a short piece on our currency, titled Ngultrum Identity, wherein I have said that the existing symbol of our currency Ngultrum (དངུལ་ཀྲམ་) which is kept as ‘Nu’ could not be taken as our currency symbol because it could be written only in English.

Four years have passed since, but my article can be read like it was written this morning because no development has taken place. We still don’t have a symbol for Ngultrum in a real sense, though it has the ISO 4217 code since its appearance in 1974 that is BTN.

It’s fairly ok to use abbreviation like Nu in countries where English is the national language but for us we have Dzongkha, which we are proud of and using an English abbreviation seems like disregarding our own language. For that matter using a Dzongkha word can also be inconvenient as much of our written works are done in English.

Therefore, it is a conventional requirement for an independent state to have a graphical symbol to denote its national currency. It may seem like a small thing but it’s a status symbol of a nation. It’s like any other symbol that defines our identity as a nation state. It’s not something we should be taking for granted. We should not be so complacent to live with an easy Nu.

Ever since my first article on the subject I have been on a personal mission to create a symbol myself. I have played around with traditional signs, combined letters in Dzongkha, crossbred letters in Dzongkha with English and explored Ranjana script but the more I tried the more complicated my symbols became. I then realized how complex it was to create simple thing.

It was after a long gap that I resumed my mission and recently I found something I was satisfied with. I am sharing it here hoping to find people who could refine it and make it creditable enough to be submitted for consideration to The Royal Monetary Authority. And I found out that for a currency symbol to be implemented it requires the adoption of new Unicode and type formats, which means a computer geeks could help too.
Ngultrum Symbol 
I have taken the 'ངུ' from between 'དངུལ' and changed the direction of the tail a little bit to give it a sense of completeness. 

Inspiration: India got its currency symbol ₹ through an open competition in 2010. The designer D. Udaya Kumar used a combination of Devanagari letter “” (ra) and the Latin capital letter “R”.


  1. Oh yes, around last year at this time, I and a course mate during our training, hopelessly attempted to design one :P We were more on the trail run to see how we could propose a symbol going by the sentiments you poured out here.

    If you break through, you know Passu, you will be a legend (on the proud side).

  2. U r a true son of Bhutan. Keep sharing your creativity and one day, u would certainly win. I highly appreciate your noble idea la.

  3. A lecturer from Gedu college of business studies submitted a proposal to develop a currency symbol for Ngultrum but the proposal wasn't accepted by College research committee for reasons I couldn't comprehend.

  4. Wow....

    This seems to be the great initiative that has to be taken seriously.


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