Missing image
Rigveda manuscript in Devanagari (early 19th century)

Devanāgarī (देवनागरी — in English pronounced ) (ISCII IS13194:1991) [1] ( is an abugida alphabet used to write several Indian languages, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Bihari, Bhili, Konkani, Bhojpuri and Nepali from Nepal.

The transliteration used in this article follows the popular National Library at Calcutta romanization. The ITRANS [2] ( is a lossless transliteration scheme of Devanagari into ASCII that is widely used on Usenet. In ITRANS, the word Devanagari is written as "devanaagarii".



Template:Alphabet Devanagari emerged around 1200 AD out of the Siddham script, gradually replacing the earlier, closely related Sharada script (which remained in parallel use in Kashmir). Both are immediate descendants of the Gupta script, ultimately deriving from the Brāhmī script attested from the 3rd century BC. The descendants of Brahmi form the Brahmic family, including the national alphabets of many other Indian languages.


The name Devanagari derives from Sanskrit deva "divine, excellent", and nāgarī "urban", a female vrddhi adjective derived from nagara "city"; they form a tatpurusha compound, meaning the "divine urban" script. The Nagari script is an earlier form of Devanagari, appearing in ca. the 8th century as an eastern variant of the Gupta script, contemporary to Sharada, its western variant. The name Devanagari should therefore be understood as "excellent or perfected form of the Nagari script".

Interpreted by popular etymology to refer to a "City of the Gods", the name in certain Yogic traditions was taken to refer to the body of the individual. The philosophy behind this is that when one meditates on the specific sounds of the Devanagari alphabet, the written forms appear spontaneously in the mind.


Devanagari is a form of alphabet called an abugida, as each consonant has an inherent vowel (a), that can be changed with the different vowel signs. Most consonants can be joined to one or two other consonants so that the inherent vowel is suppressed. The resulting form is called a ligature. Many ligatures appear simply as two individual consonants joined together, and so are a form of ligature. Some ligatures are more elaborately formed and not as easily recognized as containing the individual consonants.

Devanagari is written from left to right. In Sanskrit, words were written together without spaces, so that the top bar is unbroken, although there were some exceptions to this rule. The break of the top line primarily marks breath groups. In modern languages, word breaks are used. Devanagari has no case distinction, i.e. no majuscule and minuscule letters.

Sanskrit spelling was phonetic, but with historical changes, the spelling of modern languages written in Devanagari may only be partly phonetic in the sense that a word written in it can only be pronounced in one way, but not all possible pronunciations can be written perfectly. Devanagari has 34 consonants (vyanjana), and 12 vowels (svara). A syllable (akshara) is formed by the combination of zero or one consonants and one vowel.

Symbols of Devanagari

Template:IPA notice

All the vowels in Devanagari are attached to the top or bottom of the consonant or to an AA vowel sign attached to the right of the consonant, with the exception of the I vowel sign, which is attached on the left. In the Devanagari vowel table below, the "Letter" column contains the symbol used when a vowel occurs without a consonant, the "Vowel sign with [p]" column contains the symbol used when a vowel is attached to a consonant, shown with the "p" letter as an example, the "Unicode name" column contains the name given in the Unicode specification for the vowel, and the "IPA" column contains the International Phonetic Alphabet character(s) corresponding to the Hindi pronunciation of the Devanagari character.

Devanagari vowels
Letter Vowel sign with [p] Unicode name IPA
(none) a
पा aa
पि i
पी ii
पु u
पू uu
पृ vocalic r in Sanskrit)
पॄ vocalic rr in Sanskrit)
पॢ vocalic l in Sanskrit)
पॣ vocalic ll in Sanskrit)
पॅ candra e
पॆ short e
पे e
पै ai
पो o
पौ au in Sanskrit)
Other modifier symbols
Symbol with [p] Unicode name Function IPA
प् virama Called halant; suppresses the inherent vowel.
पँ candrabindu Nasalizes vowel
पं anusvara Nasalizes vowel
पः visarga Adds voiceless breath after vowel /
प़ nukta Used to indicate sounds borrowed from Persian (e.g., ph + nukta = f)
पऽ avagraha Used to prolong the vowel sound.

When no vowel is written, 'a' is assumed. To specifically denote the absence of a vowel, a halant (also called virama) is used.

Devanagari consonants
Letter Unicode name Transliteration IPA
ka k
kha kh
ga g
gha gh
ca c
cha ch
ja j
jha jh
ttha ṭh
ddha ḍh
ta t
tha th
da d
dha dh
na n
pa p
pha ph
ba b
bha bh
ma m
ya y
ra r
la l
va v
sha ś
sa s
ha h

Among these, is not used in Hindi. The entire set is used in Marathi.

Devanagari digits are written as follows:

Devanagari numerals
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


Consonant clusters of two or more phonemes are realized by combining the aksharas into ligatures. Typically, the preceding akshara loses its vertical stroke and is put in direct contact with the succeeding one. In cases of aksharas that do not have vertical strokes in their independent form, the following aksharas are usually placed underneath the preceding one. In some cases, the ligatures take forms not readily recognizable as composed of the individual aksharas (e.g. ). Consonant clusters involving r are treated as a special case: preceding r- is realized as a right-facing hook above the following akshara, and following -r appears as a slanted stroke attached to the vertical stroke of the preceding akshara.

Devanagari in Unicode

The Unicode range for Devanagari is U+0900 .. U+097F. Gray blocks indicate characters that are undefined.

  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+093x     ि

Devanagari Keyboard Layouts


Missing image
INSCRIPT Keyboard Layout (Windows, Solaris, Java)


Missing image
Standard typewriter keyboard layout used in India


External links


Electronic resources

cs:Devangar de:Devanagari eo:Devanāgarī fr:Devanagari nl:Devanagari pl:Pismo dewanagari pt:devanagari ru:Деванагари fi:Devanagari sv:Devanagari ta:தேவநாகரி hi:देवनागरी sa:देवनागरी ks:dēvanāgarī ja:デーヴァナーガリー


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools