Thursday, September 12, 2013

Currency Today : Bhutan 01

Today I'm presenting a realy beautiful set of banknotes.
Bhutan is a country in cental Asia, stuck between China in the north, and India to all other sides.
Bhutan doesn't really has diplomatic relations with the Peoples Republic of China, and is more India-orientated.
The country is a bit smaller than The Netherlands, but its population is estimated less then one million people.
Bhutan is hard to visit, as all tourist have to book their holidays through local travel agencies, which cost up to 250 USD / day.
It's a way to avoid mass tourism.
The Bhutan currency 'ngultrum' is exchangable with the Indian rupee 1:1.
"dNgul Tam"  means 'silvercoin' and is divided into 100 "ch(h)etrum(s)"
The banknotes start with  ngultrum ...

The first set of banknotes (series 1974) have serial numbers starting with A (1 ngultrum) to G (500 ngultrum).
In the current set (2006 and renewed more recently), serial numbers start with I (1 ngultrum) to R (1000 ngultrum). - serial numbers with 'O' and 'Q' are omitted.

1 ngultrum - front
1 ngultrum - back
The 1 ngultrum note, shows dragons, and the 5 ngultrum mythical birds.
On the back side of the 1 ngultrum, we see the Simtokha Dzong, and on the back side of the 5 ngultrum, a picture of a house. I couldn't find out if 'Taktsang' (written underneath the picture) refers to a city in Tibet or not.
The Simtokha Dzong is a 'Dzong' - a palace, house of local governors, bhuddist school, place where monks live and pray ...
5 ngultrum - front
5 ngultrum - back
The 10 ngulturm note, shows us a portrait of the former King of Bhutan, HRH King Jigme Singye Wangchuck (reign : July 1972 - December 2006)

 Jigme Singye Wangchuck
10 ngultrum - front
a conch - symbol of good luck
We also see on the front side of the banknote, a conch (shell), one of the 8 symbols of good luck.
This conch can also be found on numerous stamps of the Indian Feudatory States of Cochin,
Travancore and Travancore-Cochin.

The white conch which coils to the right symbolises the deep, far-reaching and melodious sound of the Dharma teachings, which being appropriate to different natures, predispositions and aspirations of disciples, awakens them from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to accomplish their own and others' welfare.

Travancore stamp with conch

On the back, a picture of another dzong (palace), this time in Paro.

10 ngultrum - back
... to be continued...

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