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The Flag of Nepal | Himalayan Footsteps

Meaning of the Nepalese Flag

The flag of Nepal, it’s national flag, is the only non four-sided flag left in the world.

Two triangles – symbolise the Himalayan Mountains.
Crimson red – the colour of the rhododendron national flower.
Blue border – is the colour of peace & harmony.
Sun & Moon – represents permanence, the hope that Nepal will last as long as the sun & moon.Flag_of_Nepal.svg

Why is the flag this shape and all other flags are four-sided?


Probably the answer is easier, if the question is asked the other way round: Why are all national flags (except for the Nepali one) rectangular?


The pretty uniform shape of the national flag can be probably explained by the fact that the national flag has its origin in a limited area (Europe and Mediterranean), as ship flags.

Certainly there had been different shapes in the early times, but rectangular clothes of an approximate proportion of between 1.5:1 and 2:1 seemed the most practical ones, so the countries “standardized” this shape.

Afterwards the ship flags had been adapted for terrestrial use. National flags of countries outside Europe only developed after European national flags had standardized their shape, so they were imitating the rectangular shape as well as some of the symbolic elements, vertical/horizontal stripes, for instance.

Older national symbols were transformed to the “European” flag shape but Nepal retained the original shape of its flag. The Nepali flag is probably the only one surviving, something like a “living fossil”.

Usually living fossils survive in rather secluded areas, such as Nepal, not having coastal access, and being mountainous, or like Switzerland still sticking to the square shape of its flags.

– Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 17 July 2004

Evolution of Nepal’s Flag

Until 1962 the flag of Nepal had human faces inside the sun & moon. They were removed to modernise the flag.

Earlier versions of the flag were based upon two separate pennants which belonged to rival branches of the Rana dynasty, which formerly ruled the country.

nepal1 flag of nepal

nepal2 flag of nepal
19th Century to 1923 Flag of Rana Prime Ministers

np-1928 flag of nepal
1923 to 1930

nep_1962 flag of nepal
1930 – 16 December 1962

np flag of nepal
Adopted 16th December 1962