Pallava script

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Pallava script
Shukla Pallava.svg
'Pallava' in Pallava script
Script type
Time period
4th century AD to 8th century AD[1]
Directionleft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesSanskrit, Tamil, Old Khmer, Old Malay, Burmese, Thai, Sri Lankan Sinhala, Lao, Mon, Balinese, etc.
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
Tamil, Grantha, 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.

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

Epigrapher Arlo Griffiths argues that the name of the script is misleading as not all of the relevant scripts referred to have a connection with the Pallava dynasty. He instead advocates that these scripts be called Late Southern Brāhmī scripts.[1]

A proposal to encode the script in Unicode was submitted in 2018.[16]


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,[17] 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[18] evolved into early forms of Kannada and Telugu scripts. Glyphs become more rounded and incorporate loops because of writing upon leaves and paper.[18]

The script is not yet a part of unicode but proposals have been made to include it. In 2018, Anshuman Pandey made a proposal.[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
Pallava Ka.svg Pallava Kha.svg Pallava Ga.svg Pallava Gha.svg Pallava Nga.svg
ca cha ja jha* nya
Pallava Ca.svg Pallava Cha.svg Pallava Ja.svg Pallava Jha.svg Pallava Nya.svg
ṭa ṭha* ḍa ḍha* ṇa
Pallava Tta.svg Pallava Ttha.svg Pallava Dda.svg Pallava Ddha.svg Pallava Nna.svg
ta tha da dha na
Pallava Ta.svg Pallava Tha.svg Pallava Da.svg Pallava Dha.svg Pallava Na.svg
pa pha ba bha ma
Pallava Pa.svg Pallava Pha.svg Pallava Ba.svg Pallava Bha.svg Pallava Ma.svg
ya ra la va
Pallava Ya.svg Pallava Ra.svg Pallava La.svg Pallava Va.svg
śa ṣa sa ha
Pallava Sha.svg Pallava Ssa.svg Pallava Sa.svg Pallava Ha.svg

Independent Vowels[edit]

a ā i ī u e o ai* au*
Pallava A.svg Pallava Aa.svg Pallava I.svg Pallava Ii.svg Pallava U.svg Pallava E.svg Pallava O.svg Pallava Ai.svg Pallava Au.svg



  1. ^ a b Griffiths, Arlo (2014). "Early Indic Inscriptions of Southeast Asia". {{cite journal}}: 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. ^ "Javanese alphabet". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Kawi alphabet". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Khmer". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Lanna alphabet". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Lao". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Mon". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  13. ^ "New Tai Lue script". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Sundanese". Retrieved 13 September 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Thai". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  16. ^ Pandey, Anshuman. (2018). Preliminary proposal to encode Pallava in Unicode.
  17. ^[bare URL image file]
  18. ^ a b "Pallava script". 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-03-13.
  19. ^ Pandey, Anshuman. (2018). Preliminary proposal to encode Pallava in Unicode.


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

External links[edit]