Srilankan 50 rupees

50 Rupee 1991-1994 Heritage issue

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) issued for circulation, 50 Rupee Currency Notes in a series of notes that started in 1991 on theme Sri Lanka Heritage.

Srilankan 50 rupees

1995- 2006 : 50 Rupee note - Back Side

Basic Details

Theme Sri Lanka Heritage
Colors Front – Blue with Orange right of center
Back – Blue with green and orange regions.
Front Landscape
Head of Kandyan dancer on right, Moonstone above decorate in lower center with smaller Guard Stone on left with flower design above with diamond shape on left. Side view of Lotus on bottom left.
Back Portrait
Jetavanarama with smaller Thuparama stupas of Anuradhapura in foreground. Hilt of Kastane Sword at bottom with Sesatha behind. On upper panel Divided Moth with diamond shape with 2 dots top left of center between panels.
Within a decorative border, Numeric 50 at top left and Bottom right.
Sequrity Thread

Thin polyester thread of 1 mm width embedded in note. Micro-printing background pattern.

UV Printing: Front: Serial Numbers, in Green. A rectangular highlight large numeric 50 upper left of center,and from 1995 to 2006 with additional elaborate UV printing of Moonstone, part of Sunface and blanked decorate below all in Greenish Yellow. Back: Highlight of divided fish and a band mostly across the background seaview.

Watermark Lion from national Flag standing facing left with sword in right paw, outlined darker than paper. 2006-07-03 CornerStones
Printer Thomas de la rue
Size 136 x 68 m
Date of Issue started in 1991
Printed Years 1995-2006

UV Printing

2004 50rupee bank note UV marks

2004 50rupee bank note UV marks


Deno. Date on
Finance Minister CBSL Governor First Serial # Mintage
in K
Rs.50 1991-01-01 D.B.Wijethunga H.N.S.Karunatillake K/1 000001 5,000 (Z/3)
Rs.50 1992-07-01 D.B.Wijethunga H.B.Disanayaka K/6 000001 37,000 (Z/3)
Rs.50 1994-08-19 C.B.Kumaratunga H.B.Disanayaka K/43 000001 17,000 (Z/3)
Blanked Emblem
Rs.50 1995-11-15 C.B.Kumaratunga A.S.Jayawardena K/60 000001 95,000 Z/3
Rs.50 2001-12-12 K.N. Choksy A.S.Jayawardena K/155 000001 35,000 Z/3
Rs.50 2004-04-10 Sarath Amunugama A.S.Jayawardena K/190 000001 30,000 Z/3
Rs.50 2004-07-01 Sarath Amunugama Sunil Mendis K/220 000001 25,192 Z/3
Rs.50 2005-11-19 Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunil Mendis K/245 192001 35,000 Z/3
Rs.50 2006-07-03 Mahinda Rajapaksa Ajith Nivard Cabral K/280 192001 55,000 Z/3

Story of the Kandyan Dancer


Nittawela Gunaya

A baby boy was born in a beautiful village called Niththawela, in Dumbara Hills in 1906. Nobody knew this little boy would be a great hero blessed by Mother Lanka.
This little boy had his primary education from Watapuluwa School and showed his inner talent on unique dancing tradition called Kandian dancing the identity of Sri Lankan dancing.
This young talented dancer, lately known as Niththawela Gunaya as well as Yakdessalage Gunaya Gurunnanse. His father was known as Panikki Gurunnanse and his uncle was known as Niththawela Surabha Gurunnanse who was a dynamic Kandian dancer in Kandy Asela Perahera ( Kandy Asela Pageant). This young lad Niththawela Gunaya was fortunate enough to be a young dancer in Kandy Asela Perahera at the age of eight. As he was hailing from a dancing family, he became a Wes dancer at the age of eighteen.
This extremely talented dancer mastered his Kandian dancing skills and once, the veternary surgeon John Henburg at Dehiwala Zoological Garden was delighted by this young dancer and accompanied him to Germany to show this young dancer’s unique yet mind binding dancing skills. In his nine months stay in Germany, he entertained Germans, and arrived back to his homeland refusing the German government’s residential permit humbly.
This great dancer was awarded in gold by the Government of Germany in 1947 for his excellent dancing styles and this award was a triumphant moment in Sri Lankan history. The tragic mysterious incident he faced on his way back to his homeland was, unexpected missing of his golden award which was in his suitcase. This great lost made him hopeless as an award is the highest appreciation of a precious service. An award may be the greatest achievement of an artist’s lifetime.
( This same mystery was faced by Rana Mayura recently)
Even though, he faced such a loss, in 1950, the government issued a memorial stamp in appreciation of this veteran.
This prominent dancer yet again highlighted Sri Lankan flag internationally winning awards upon awards at the World Youth Forum held in Russia in1957(being the team leader of Sri Lanka Youth Cultural Affairs)

This patriotic son of mother Lanka, refused the invitation of the most prestigious University, the University of Sorbonne as he wanted to contribute his best to his motherland. Also, he became a prolific dancing teacher for many foreign dancers. Many foreign professional dancers became his students. He shared his skills with them selflessly.
This great diamond was invited to represent the most iconic film awards in India, the fifth Filmfare awards in 1958 and the most outlined moment was, this prolific dancer was appeared on the cover page and the first four pages in the most famous Filmfare magazine.
He achieved the Swarna Jayanthi award by Sir S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and the inherents of Niththawela Village called Rathwaththa family donated a land for this wonderful dancer.
Eventhough, this great dancer committed his entire life for the nation’s pride, being an iconic Kandian dancer in Kandy Asela Perahera for 57 years, while refusing luxurious opportunities he got, nobody was there to consider and look after this precious character in his retired age.Even family wasn’t with him , his only son left him at his young age and his only daughter died unexpectedly.
This innocent, mesmerising dancer spent his last phase in his life plucking coffee as a daily earning. His life became harder when he was partially blind stung by a colony of red ants while plucking coffee. The triumphant, skilful, wonderful dancer would have never dreamt of a miserable ending in his life.
Gunaya Gurunnanse, the legendary dancer’s last request was a small block to build up a dancing hall to enliven the traditional dancing skills and create a strong dancing generation. Tragedy was, there was no authority to listen to this innocent request and that showed how the Sri Lankan government by that time paid gratitude for this priceless artist.
This great dancer left the world forever on 26th of December in 1979 being burnt by falling of a lamp while asleep. Once a known, skillful, identical Kandian dancer ended his life miserably. Nithawela Gurunnanse was a great son of Mother Lanka who waved nation’s flag all over the world and brought pride to the nation; the symbolic, happy Kandian dancer’s sketch you find in the fifty rupees note is none other than our great Kandian dancer Niththawela Gurunnanse.

Hope, every person who has a good taste of music might have heard the song Kirula Muthu Lihee, music by H.M . Jayawardena, composed by Rathna Sri Wijesinghe and sung by Janaka Wickramasingha.
This song depicts the life story of this wonderful Kandian dancer beautifully.

Next time, when you get a 50 note , better to have close look on the sketch of this invaluable dancer! You may speechless as his smiling pleasant face along with rhythmic posture show the pride and commitment to his nation.


Nittawela Gunaya

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