February 9, 2007 / 10:40 AM / 13 years ago

Mt. Everest to replace Nepal king on currency note

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - The picture of Nepal’s unpopular King Gyanendra will be replaced by that of Mount Everest on the Himalayan country’s 10-rupee notes, the finance minister said on Friday.

The cabinet picked the world’s highest mountain over Lord Buddha on Thursday to replace the monarch’s image. Officials had earlier suggested that currency notes carry the picture of Buddha, born a prince in Nepal more than 2,600 years ago.

“We decided to go in for Sagarmatha instead of the Buddha because some Buddhist religious organisations were against having his picture on currency notes,” Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat told Reuters.

Sagarmatha, which means head of the sea, is the Nepali name for the world’s highest peak that stands at 8,850 metres (29,035 feet).

The move to remove Gyanendra’s picture comes months after he was stripped of nearly all his powers following mass protests last year that ended nearly 15 months of his absolute rule.

Mahat said the government would take a decision later on what picture should be used to replace the king’s image on other rupee denominations.

Elections are due in June for a special assembly which will map out Nepal’s future including the fate of the monarchy.

The landlocked nation is home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains including Mount Everest.

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