The Pallava script, a Brahmic script, was developed under the Pallava dynasty of Southern India around the 6th century AD. Indian script Grantha[1] and Southeast Asian scripts such as Balinese[2], Javanese[3], Kawi[4], Baybayin[5], Mon[6], Burmese[7], Khmer[8], Lanna[9], Thai[10], Lao[11] and the New Tai Lue alphabet[12] as well as the Sri Lankan Sinhala script[13] are either direct or indirect derivations from the Kadamba-Pallava alphabet.[14]

Pallava script name.gif
LanguagesTamil, Old Khmer, Old Malay, etc.
Time period
6th century AD to 9th century AD
Parent systems
Child systems
Grantha, Mon, Khmer, Kawi
Sister systems
Tamil, Vatteluttu alphabet

A proposal to encode the script in Unicode was submitted in 2018.[15]


Pallava script at the 8th century Kailasanatha temple in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu.

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*

Kadamba-Pallava scriptEdit

Kadamba-Pallava script

During the rule of Pallavas, the script accompanied priests, monks, scholars and traders into South East 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,[16] Kadamba, Vengi at the time of Ikshvakus. Brahmi design was slightly different of the scripts of Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras. Pallava script very first significant developments of Brahmi in India, take care in combining rounded and rectangular strokes and adding typographical effects, was suitable for civic and religious inscriptions. Kadamba-Pallava script[17] evolved into early forms of Kannada and Telugu scripts. Glyphs become more rounded and incorporate loops because of writing upon leaves and paper.[18][13]


  1. ^ "Grantha alphabet". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Balinese alphabet". Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Javanese alphabet". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Kawi alphabet". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Tagalog". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Mon". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Burmese". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Khmer". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Lanna alphabet". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Thai". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Lao". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  12. ^ "New Tai Lue script". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  13. ^ a b Jayarajan, Paul M. (1976-01-01). History of the Evolution of the Sinhala Alphabet. Colombo Apothecaries' Company, Limited.
  14. ^ "Pallava script". 2010-12-30.
  15. ^ Pandey, Anshuman. (2018). Preliminary proposal to encode Pallava in Unicode.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Pallava script". 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-03-13.
  18. ^ "Pallava - an important ancient script from South India". Retrieved 2013-09-05.


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

External linksEdit