Pallava script

The Pallava script or Pallava Grantha, is a Brahmic script, named after the Pallava dynasty of South India, attested since the 4th century AD.[1] In India, Pallava script evolved into the Tamil[3] and Grantha script.[4] Pallava spread to Southeast Asia and evolved into local scripts such as Balinese,[5] Baybayin,[6] Burmese,[7] Javanese,[8] Kawi,[9] Khmer,[10] Lanna,[11] Lao,[12] Mon,[13] New Tai Lue alphabet,[14] Sundanese,[15] and the Thai[16]

Pallava script
Pallava script name.gif
Script type
Time period
4th century AD to 8th century AD[1]
Directionleft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesKannada, Telugu, Tamil, Old Khmer, Old Malay, Burmese, Thai, Sri Lankan Sinhala, Lao, Mon, Balinese, etc.
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
Tamil, Grantha, Old Mon, Khmer, Cham, Kawi
Sister systems
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

A proposal to encode the script in Unicode was submitted in 2018.[17]


During the rule of Pallavas, the script accompanied priests, monks, scholars and traders into Southeast Asia. Pallavas developed the Pallava script based on the Tamil-Brahmi. The main characteristics of the newer script are aesthetically matched and fuller consonant glyphs. Similar to Pallava script, also visible in the writing systems of Chalukya,[18] Kadamba, Vengi at the time of Ikshvakus. Brahmi design was slightly different of the scripts of Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras. Pallava script is the first significant developments of Brahmi in India, by combining rounded and rectangular strokes and adding typographical effects, and was suitable for civic and religious inscriptions. Kadamba-Pallava script[19] evolved into early forms of Kannada and Telugu scripts. Glyphs become more rounded and incorporate loops because of writing upon leaves and paper.[19]


The form shown here is based on examples from the 7th century AD. Letters labeled * have uncertain sound value, as they have little occurrence in Southeast Asia.


Each consonant has an inherent /a/, which will be sounded if no vowel sign is attached. If two consonants follow one another without intervening vowel, the second consonant is made into a subscript form, and attached below the first.

ka kha ga gha nga
ca cha ja jha* nya
ṭa ṭha* ḍa ḍha* ṇa
ta tha da dha na
pa pha ba bha ma
ya ra la va
śa ṣa sa ha

Independent VowelsEdit

a ā i ī u e o ai* au*



  1. ^ a b Griffiths, Arlo (2014). "Early Indic Inscriptions of Southeast Asia". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ Handbook of Literacy in Akshara Orthography, R. Malatesha Joshi, Catherine McBride(2019),p.28
  3. ^ Salomon, Richard (1998). Indian Epigraphy. p. 40.
  4. ^ "Grantha alphabet". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Balinese alphabet". Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Tagalog". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Burmese". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Javanese alphabet". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Kawi alphabet". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Khmer". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Lanna alphabet". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Lao". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Mon". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  14. ^ "New Tai Lue script". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Sundanese". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  16. ^ "Thai". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  17. ^ Pandey, Anshuman. (2018). Preliminary proposal to encode Pallava in Unicode.
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b "Pallava script". 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-03-13.


  • Sivaramamurti, C, Indian Epigraphy and South Indian Scripts. Bulletin of the Madras Government Museum. Chennai 1999

External linksEdit