Nepal Flag – History, Meaning, Facts and More

A flag is a representation of a nation. It symbolizes the nationality, national unity, and pride of a nation. Almost all the flags of the world are rectangular or square except the flag of Nepal. The flag of Nepal is of unique appearance with two single pennons.

The only non-quadrilateral national flag in the world is the national flag of Nepal that acts as both the state flag and the civil flag of a sovereign nation, Nepal. Nepal’s national flag is a combination of two single pennons (or pennants) which is also known as a double-pennon. It has three colors, crimson red, white and blue in the national flag of Nepal.

The crimson red in the national flag of Nepal is the symbol of bravery as well as it also represents the color of Nepal’s national flower Rhododendron. While the blue color in the border of the flag represents the color of peace. In each pennon, there is the Sun and the crescent Moon in white color. Upper pennon has crescent Moon whereas the lower pennon has the Sun.

Formally, Nepal is called the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal which is a landlocked nation in South Asia. It is situated in the Himalayan region in between two supergiant countries India at its southern, Eastern and Western borders and the People’s Republic of China at its northern border. The capital city of Nepal is Kathmandu. Nepal has the world’s highest mountains in the northern part, including the eight highest peaks in the world. Mount Everest, which is the world’s highest peak is at 8848 meters above sea level located in Nepal.

Nepal Flag – History

Old Nepali Flag
Nepali Flag before Dec 16, 1962

Before the modernization of the National flag of Nepal, there were faces shown on the moon and the sun. The faces in the sun and moon used to have eyes, ears, nose and a symbol on the forehead. Later on, after 1962 the faces were removed and only the sun with 12 triangular rays and moon with 8 triangular rays were shown.

Nepal was divided into many smaller states before the unification campaign led by King Prithvi Narayan Shah in the 18th century. The King of Gorkha, Shah unified all smaller states into one single nation, Nepal.

And after hundreds of years when the new constitutional government was formed on December 16, 1962, the national flag of Nepal was modernized and standards were set to draw the National flag of Nepal.

The design that was adopted in the year 1962 was borrowed from the original, traditional design, which is believed to be in use from the time of Mahabharata as the flag of Nepal.

What does the flag of Nepal look like?

The flag of Nepal looks like the combination of two overlapping crimson red right triangular pennons in which upper pennant has a white moon with 8 triangular rays and the lower pennon has the white sun with 12 triangular rays. The crimson red color in the pennants is covered by a blue border from all sides.

Why the Flag of Nepal is Unique?

In the 17th-19th century, there were hundreds of independent states that existed on the Indian subcontinent before the period of British colonialism. At that period, almost all countries had their state flags and their symbols used to represent the ruling dynasty. As most of the states were Hindu kingdom, they had a triangular shape or pennon flags that have been in use from the ancient Vedic period in the Indian Subcontinent.

But after the colonialism of the British in the Indian Subcontinent, most of those flags disappeared as the British extended their control. And the remainder lost international validity with the establishment of independent India in 1947.

Nepal was never colonized by any nation in the world. It also has remained a separate, sovereign kingdom proudly flying its national flag even in a time when all the surrounding nations were colonized by Britain. Nepal’s national flag basic design dates back for centuries.

The national flag of Nepal has a white crescent moon emitting eight rays in the upper segment of the flag, whereas there is a white stylized sun with 12 rays in the bottom segment. Both upper and bottom pennons have crimson red color and have a blue border.

Why is Nepal’s flag not rectangular?

The national flag of Nepal is not rectangular or square or in quadrilateral shape, it is the only one flag with a triangular shape. Nepal’s national flag has two single pennons in which the bottom triangle is larger in shape than the upper pennon. The national flag of Nepal is based on the Vedic tradition of Hindu flags which are mostly triangular.

In Vedic Hindu tradition and “Vastu Shastra” (Traditional Hindu Science of Architecture), the flag is normally designed in the ratio 3:4 with hypotenuse 5 and this ratio means eternal in Vastushastra. The lower triangle is of 45 degrees and the upper triangle can be obtained by calculation with the standard set by the Nepalese Constitution.

What is the meaning of the Nepal Flag?

Almost everything in the Nepali flag has meaning or beliefs. From the shape of the flag to the colors and the symbols everything represents or symbolizes some Nepalese culture and beliefs. The most unique thing of the Nepali flag is that it is the only flag in a world that is not in quadrilateral shape. The two pennants in the flag may have different meanings in ancient times but now the meaning has changed.

The colors in the national flag represent the Bravery of Gorkhali and symbolize the national flower of Nepal, harmony, and peace too. The sun and moon symbolize the calmness, purity, and consciousness. The two symbols; the Sun and the moon are meant to symbolize the longevity of the country and Nepalese People.

Nepali Flag consists of two single pennons or triangles which is the symbolization of flag in the Hindu religion. Hindu God’s flags are usually in a triangular shape which can be seen in any Hindu temple. So from ancient times, the triangular flags were in use as the flag in the Indian Subcontinent. Nepal’s flag meaning has changed after the modernization of the flag through the Constitution in 1962.

According to the designer of Nepal’s modern national flag, Nepal’s Flag two triangles represent the high mountains of Nepal, the blue color in the border represents the sky, which is believed to be eternal and also the color of peace. The crimson red color of the Flag is the representation of the Bravery and aggressive nature of Gorkhali people and it’s also the color of victory and the used in auspicious events as in festivals and victories. Crimson is also the national color of Nepal. And the sun and moon represent the knowledge and compassion respectively.

Why Moon is above the Sun in the flag of Nepal?

It is believed that the two symbols, that is the Sun and the Moon, are associated with two different dynasties in the Hindu Vedic tradition of Kshetriya Kings which are also known as “Suryavanshi” and “Chandravanshi”. Suryavanshi were the descendants of the Lord Surya whereas Chandrabanshi were descendants of Lord Chandrama.

King Bharat (the emperor after whom Indian Subcontinent was named Bharatvarsha and India as Bharat), Harishchandra, Bhagiratha, Dashrath, Lord Ram, Suddodhan, Lord Gautam Buddha (Siddhartha Gautam) were Suryavanshi whereas King Dushyant, Bharat (Son if King Dushyant), Santanu, Pandu, Pandavs, Kauravs, Lord Krishna, were the descendants of Chandravanshi. The Shah Kings of Nepal are Chandravanshi Kings, that’s why the moon is placed above the Sun in the flag of Nepal.

The modern meaning of the Moon above the Sun represents the Compassion is greater than knowledge. So at the time of designing the flag, Mr. Rimal, the designer of the modern flag kept the Moon above the Sun as the Sun is a symbol of Knowledge and the Moon is the symbol of Compassion in both Hinduism and Buddhism.

What is expressed by the Sun and the Moon in Nepal’s national flag?

The Sun and the Moon in the national flag of Nepal express the hope that the country will have the same longevity as that of the sun and moon in the sky. Originally, there were facial features representing the sun and moon, which represents the Hindu Gods Surya and Chandrama.

In the national flag of Nepal, the crescent moon at the top has eight small rays. The moon in the national flag reflects the peaceful, calm and friendly attitude of the Nepali, while the sun represents their fierce resolve.

The sun in the lower pennons has 12 triangular rays. The 12 rays of Sun represents the 12 months as well as the 12 signs of the zodiac as they are related to the movement of the sun. The sun is taken as the head of the planets, symbolizes an eternal light and a symbol of the soul. Similarly, the moon is taken as the head of the asteroids and a symbol of the heart.

Who made Nepal’s flag?

Nepal’s flag is in use from the ancient Vedic period and the name of the country. It is also mentioned in Vedas and Mahabharata. But the original creator of the flag of Nepal is unknown. In 1962, Nepal modernized its National flag and the new designed was based on the original design. New design only set standard rules on how to draw the National flag of Nepal and made minor changes to the original flag. On the request of King Mahendra, Shankar Nath Rimal designed the modern flag of Nepal. Mr. Rimal was a renowned architect at that time.

How many Colours are there in the Nepal flag?

The National flag of Nepal has three colors; crimson red, white and blue. In the two pennants, the color is crimson red, which is also the national color of Nepal and the color of the national flower, the rhododendron. The color at the border of the flag is blue, which represents peace and harmony. The third color in the national flag of Nepal is white which is in the Sun and crescent moon of the flag.

Nepal’s National Flag facts

Here are some of the Facts about National Flag of Nepal:

  • World’s only Non-Quadrilateral National Flag

Most nation’s national flag appears similar in shape, which is rectangular and even some nation’s colors are also the same. Some countries flag is even almost exactly similar, for example, the flag of Chad and Romania, they have only a slight difference in shades of color.

Even some flags look similar when they are turned upside down and some have just added symbols that make them different from the similar one. In the crowd of hundreds of national flags in this world, anyone can identify the unique national flag of Nepal.

As it is only one of its kind and the only non-quadrilateral national flag in the whole world. Only Switzerland has a square flag but it is also a quadrilateral flag, so only Nepal’s flag stands out to be unique in the whole world.

The national flag of Nepal is a simplified combination of two single pennants. It appears as a blend of two single flags or pennons. The flag looks like a combination of two triangles, in which the upper triangle is a ninety-degree triangle with its longer side at the bottom. The other triangular shape is placed at the lower segment with the shorter side at its bottom.

Though the triangular flags were common in the South Asian territory after the British colonization, the shape of flags was changed into Quadrilateral shape by various nations in South Asian territory. The rectangular flags got popular in the whole world because the Europeans who had the first rectangular flags colonized almost the whole world and every country copied them, except Nepal.

Nepal was able to keep its traditional flag and now is the only flag to be recognized as a Non-Quadrilateral flag in the world. As Nepal was never colonized by any nation so it stands out to maintain its identity and national flag which is still the same for centuries. The triangular flags are also used in Nepali temples, as well as, still, it can be seen in Indian temples.

Nepali Flag
Photo: Kurious
  • The Origin of Nepal’s Flag is still unknown

The original creator of the flag is still unknown and the flag’s origin is believed to be religious. It is believed that Nepal’s flag maybe is in existence from Vedic or Mahabharata time as the name of Nepal is mentioned in Vedas and Mahabharata. The existence of Nepal’s flag is not an outcome of any political movement like any other countries such as India, etc.

But the flag of Nepal carries the archaeological heritage of the Aryans people of South Asia. The Dhoja which simply means flag is generally triangular in Hindu temple and each God in Hinduism has their significant flag.

  • The Triangular shape in Nepal’s flag symbolizes the mountains

As stated by the designer of the modern flag of Nepal, Mr. Rimal, he chooses to keep the design of the flag of Nepal same as it was at that time, that is in the triangular shape because it may also symbolize the high mountains of Nepal whenever any person would see the triangles of the flag. So along with the religious and cultural view of designing the triangular flag, the flag also symbolizes the geography of Nepal.

  • The colors in Nepal’s Flag also have symbolic meanings

The Flag of Nepal is not just a normal flag, as every aspect of Nepal’s national flag symbolizes many things. The crimson red color in the flag is the color of the victory, the color of the auspicious events the color of the national flower of Nepal, Rhododendron. Whereas, the blue color on the border of the flag symbolizes the peace. The two colors at the same time symbolize the opposite things.

These two colors represent that the Nepalese people live in peace and harmony but if needed they can show their bravery and can be ferocious if someone tries to wage war against them. In the religious view, the blue color is related to the vast sky and deep sea which are supposed to be eternal. It is believed that the country will also remain for eternal time. White is the color of purity and neutrality.

The red color in the flag also symbolizes the bravery of Nepalese people. In modern times, the flag is also the symbol of the Bravery of Nepalese people, as Gurkha Army is known in the whole world for their bravery. In general, the Blue color symbolizes knowledge, wisdom, tranquillity, and peace.

  • There have been changes in the Flag throughout history

Before 1962, the sun and the crescent moon had human faces with nose, eyes and a symbol on the forehead. These signs of the flag were removed to modernize the flag by the new designer.

The Modern flag of Nepal was adopted on December 16, 1962, with the formation of a new Constitution. There was variation in the use of the sun and moon in upper and lower pennants before the standardization. The flag borrows the basic design from the original design, which has been in use for more than a thousand years.

  • It is the most mathematical flag

Nepali Flag is considered as the most mathematical Flag in the world. The flag is designed in such a way that it can be constructed without the use of a ruler or scale. Good knowledge of Geometry is required to construct the flag perfectly.

In the bottom segment, the bottom triangle at the left side is 90° and at the right side in the same line, the angle of the triangle is 45° to the above corner of the triangle. And in the upper triangle, the top most angle is 57.94411° and the angle of the right corner is 32.75589°.

  • It held the World Record for the Largest Human Flag

On August 23, 2014, more than 35,000 Nepalese People gathered to form the world record for the largest human flag. The attempt was approved by the Guinness Book of World Records in August which broke the previous record set by Pakistan with 28,957 participants at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan just six months ago. The record of the largest human flag of Nepal was broken by an attempt in India with 43,830 participants.

  • There are fixed instructions to be followed to draw the Nepali Flag

The flag of Nepal can be easily constructed by just following the steps mentioned in the Constitution of Nepal.

There is a fixed set of instructions to draw the National Flag of Nepal. Since 1962, after modernizing the National flag of Nepal, the rules to draw the National flag of Nepal is in every Constitution of Nepal that came into effect after 1962.

  • Nepal’s Flag was shown on the World Tallest Building, Burj Khalifa

On 3rd of Ashoj in the Constitution Day of Nepal, Nepal’s flag was displayed on the tallest building in the World, Burj Khalifa. It was a proud moment for the Nepalese people to see their flag on the tallest building in the world. Various other countries like India, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Canada, etc on their respective National Days have also displayed their flags on Burj Khalifa.

  • Nepalese People believe that Nepal will remain in the earth till there are Sun and Moon in the Sky

As we know there is the moon and the sun in the flag of Nepal. These symbols in the flag are also said to express the strong belief that Nepal will be there on the earth as long as the Sun and Moon are in the sky. It is because the name of the country Nepal is mentioned in Vedas and Mahabharata too, so the history of the country Nepal is believed to be from Vedic Era and is believed that it will remain till the end of the Universe.

Where is the national flag of Nepal used?

As we know, for every country National Flag carries their pride and honor. Similarly, it is a matter of pride and honor for Nepalese people and even more than that. It is the responsibility as well as the duty of the person to respect his/her national Flag. So here are some of the places where there is the use of the National flag of Nepal as a matter of Pride and Honour.

  • In the cars of the President, Prime Minister, etc

The cars of President, Prime Minister and other Ministers, Governor, etc can be seen with a small flag of Nepal. President and Prime Minister are the representatives of our nation so as the flag. So a small flag can be seen in the vehicles of these respective people.

  • Government Buildings

Government buildings are the property of the Nation. So we can see the National flag of Nepal at the top of these buildings. Several government buildings like Ministries, Nepal Telecom Office, Nepal Electricity Authority, Residence of President, Residence of Prime Minister, Building of Constitutional Assembly, etc can be seen with the flag of Nepal at the top. These flags are flown to honor and represent the nation. The national flags can be seen flying high on top of these Government buildings.

  • National court

The Judiciary is an important organ of the government and the guardian of the law. A court is a place where an individual of a Nation can get justice. A court is a place where justice can be provided to its citizens. A National flag of Nepal can be seen at the Judiciary buildings in Nepal.

  • Nepal’s National Army

The Military bases are one of the places where the Flag of Nepal is flown with the highest respect. The national army of Nepal is also the representative of a nation. Whenever Nepal Army takes part in International Mission like in the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces, they wear a dress with a small flag in their arms to represent Nepal in Foreign land.

  • Embassy

Nepal has diplomatic relations with many countries of the world. And many Embassies of Nepal are located in various friendly countries of Nepal. An Embassy is a place where you can see the National flag flowing freely in foreign countries. The flag in Embassies represents the nation in a foreign land.

Other places where Nepal’s flag is used:

  • Schools and Colleges are the places that provide education and knowledge to the future of the Nation, so it is common to see the flag of Nepal in Schools and colleges.
  • The cabin of the head of the Offices, etc can be seen with a little flag on their desk.
  • Every citizen in Nepal is allowed to keep their National flag at their home with respect and honor to the flag.
  • In international events and international games like Cricket, football, Olympics, etc Nepalese people use their flag to show support to their National team playing on an international level.

How the Nepali flag is most Mathematical?

Watch video:

On December 16, 1962, the Nepali flag was standardized by setting rules to draw the Nepali National flag. However, the flag is almost fully based on the original design of the flag, which has been in use for centuries.

The present Constitution, the Constitution of Nepal 2015 in Article 8 also defines and prescribes the method of drawing the National flag of Nepal.

Here is the definition that is written in Article 8 of the Constitution of Nepal 2015

“The national flag of Nepal, as handed down by tradition, consists of two juxtaposed triangular figures with a crimson-colored base and deep blue borders, there is a white emblem of the crescent moon with eight rays visible out of sixteen in the upper part and a white emblem of a twelve rayed sun in the lower part. The method of drawing the flag and other particulars relating thereto shall be as set out in Schedule 1.”

In every Constitution of Nepal, after the Constitution of 1962, there are detailed rules to draw Nepal’s national flag. Similarly, in the new Constitution, the Constitution of Nepal 2015 (2072 BS), the method of drawing is described in Schedule 1. Here is the Schedule 1 of the Constitution of Nepal 2015:

Schedule-1

(Relating to clause (2) of Article 8)

National Flag of Nepal

  • The Method of Making the Shape inside the Border

1)    Take a crimson cloth and on the lower portion of that cloth, draw a line AB of the required length from left to right.

2)    From point A draw a line AC  which should be perpendicular to the line AB which should make AC equal to AB plus one-third of AB. From the point AC mark off D which makes the line AD equal to line AB. And now Join BD.

3)    From the line, BD mark off the point E making the line BE equal to the line AB.

4)    Touching the point E draw a line FG, starting from F on the line AC, parallel to the line AB to the right-hand-side. Mark off the line FG equal to the line AB.

5)   Now, Join the point C and the point G, making the line CG.

  • The Method of Making the Moon

6)    From the line AB mark off the line AH, making AH equal to one-fourth of the line AB and from the point H draw a line HI parallel to the line AC touching the line CG at a point I.

7)     Bisect the line CF at point J and draw a line JK which is parallel to the line AB touching the line CG at point K.

8)     Let at point L, the lines JK and HI cut one another.

9)    Now, Join the point J and G making JG.

10)    Let M be the point where line JG and line HI cut one another.

11)    With center M and with a distance shortest from point M to the line BD mark off a point N on the lower portion of line HI.

12)    Touching point M and starting from O, a point on AC, draw a line from left to right parallel to the line AB.

13)    With center L and radius LN draw a semi-circle on the lower portion and let point P and point Q be the points where it touches the line OM respectively.

14)    With center M and radius MQ, draw a semi-circle on the lower portion touching point P and point Q.

15)    With center N and radius NM draw an arc touching PNQ at point R and point S. Join the point R and S making RS. Let T be the point where the line RS and line HI cut one another.

16)    With center T and radius TS draw a semi-circle on the upper portion of PNQ touching it at two points.

17)    With center T and radius TM draw an arc on the upper portion of PNQ touching at two points.

18)    Eight equal, as well as similar triangles of the moon, are to be made in the space lying between the semi-circle of No. 16 and outside the arc of No. 17 of this Schedule.

  • The Method of Making the Sun

19)    First of all, bisect the line AF at a point U, and draw a line UV parallel to line AB touching line BE at point V.

20)    With center W, the point where HI and UV cut one another and radius MN draw a full circle.

21)    With center W and radius LN, draw a full circle.

22)    Twelve equal, as well as similar triangles of the sun, are to be made in the space between the circles of No. 20 and No. 21 with two apexes of two triangles touching HI.

  • The Method of Making the Border

23)    The border width will be equal to the width of TN. This border will be deep blue and will be on all sides of the flag. Though, on the five angles of the flag, the external angles and the internal angles will be equal to each other.

24)    The above mentioned border will be provided if the flag will be used with a rope. On the other hand, if the flag is to be hoisted on a pole, the hole on the border on the side AC can be extended according to the required value of width.

Explanation of Terms used in Schedule 1: The lines HI, FE, RS, OQ, JG, ED, JK, and UV are imaginary. Likewise, the internal and external circles of the sun are imaginary and the other arcs except for the arc of the crescent moon are also imaginary. These are not to be shown on the flag.

Nota bene: Nepal’s National Flag size shall be as determined by the Government of Nepal.

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