Grantha alphabet

The Grantha script (from Sanskrit " book" ग्रन्थ grantha or " manuscript " ) belongs to the southern branch of the Indian scriptures. Like most Indian scriptures they descended from the Brahmi script. The Grantha script can be epigraphically from the 6th century to prove and has long been the dominant script in South India. Today Malayalam font is derived from the Grantha script and developed in the 12th century to an independent writing. The Tamil script was strongly influenced in their development by the Grantha script. Traditionally, the Grantha script was the one script in which Sanskrit is written in the south of India. In this role, she is sometimes written today.

  • 3.1 vowels
  • 3.2 consonants
  • 3.3 Virama and Vokaldiakritika
  • 4.1 ligatures from the North Indian type
  • 4.2 ligatures from the South Indian type
  • 4.3 Special forms for and
  • 6.1 vowels
  • 6.2 Vokaldiakritika
  • 6.3 consonants

Text Examples

The Grantha text is latin, respectively (ISO 15919 ) and transliterated into Devanagari.

Example 1

From the Kumarasambhavam of Kalidasa

अस्त्युत्तरस्यां दिशि देवतात्मा हिमालयो नाम नगाधिराजः. पूर्वापरौ तोयनिधी वगाह्य स्थितः पृथिव्या इव मानदण्डः.

Example 2

Reproduction of the facsimile at the beginning of this article (John 3:16)

यत ईश्वरो जगतीत्थं प्रेम चकार यन्निजमेकजातं पुत्रं ददौ तस्मिन् विश्वासी सर्वमनुष्यो यथा न विनश्यानन्तं जीवनं लप्स्यते.


The Grantha script is an abugida. It belongs to the Indian script circle. For details on the typology of Indian scriptures and to the alphabetical arrangement see Indian writing circle.

The Grantha script is not encoded in Unicode.

Grantha alphabet



Virama and Vokaldiakritika

Like other Abugidas have the consonants the inherent vowel / a /. His absence will be marked graphically with Virama ( Halant ):

For other vowels Vokaldiakritika be used as follows:

Occasionally, ligatures of consonants with Vokaldiakritika, eg:

Some consonants special characters eligible for vowelless form:

Consonant ligatures

Grantha forms two types of consonant ligatures. The North Indian type is formed by fusion of two or more consonants analogous to most North Indian scriptures such as Devanagari. In the South Indian type, the consonants are arranged one above the other as in the writings of Kannada and Telugu ( and partly Malayalam and Oriya Indo-Aryan ).

Ligatures from the North Indian type

Ligatures from the South Indian type

Your components are easy to recognize. Therefore, only a few examples are given:

Special forms for and

And at the end of a consonant cluster and will.

At the beginning of a ligature is shifted to ( " Reph " ) and, as in other Indic scripts to the end of write syllable (see under Indian writing circle):

Grantha - digits

The Grantha digits are identical to the old Tamil numerals.

Comparison of Grantha with related writings

From the Grantha script, the fonts for Malayalam, Sinhala and Tamil have developed.


Note: As in Devanagari are in the Grantha script and for [e ː ] and [o ː ]. Originally distinction has been made in Malayalam and Tamil does not distinguish between long and short and , although both languages ​​the phonemes / e / / e ː / and / o / / o ː / have. The introduction of additional characters for / e ː / and / o ː / goes back to the Italian missionary Constanzo Beschi ( 1680-1774 ).



The Tamil characters ஜ ஶ ஷ ஸ ஹ are also called " Grantha letters ", as they were taken for the reproduction of Sanskrit words from the Grantha script in the Tamil script. The characters ழ ற ன and its sounds occur only in Dravidian languages.