Chandas typeface specimen.svg
Devanagari script (vowels top, consonants bottom) in Chandas font.
LanguagesHindi, Sanskrit, Pali, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Braj Bhasha, Chhattisgarhi, Haryanvi, Magahi, Nagpuri, Rajasthani, Bhili, Dogri, Marathi, Nepali, Maithili, Kashmiri, Konkani, Sindhi, Newar, Bodo, Mundari and Gujarati,Malayalam, many more
Time period
Early signs: 1st century CE,[1] modern form: 10th century CE[2][3]
Parent systems
Child systems
Sister systems
Gurmukhi, Nandinagari
ISO 15924Deva, 315
Unicode alias
U+1CD0–U+1CFF Vedic Extensions
[a] The Semitic origin of the Brahmic scripts is not universally agreed upon.

Devanagari (/ NAH-gər-ee; देवनागरी, IAST: Devanāgarī, a compound of "deva" देव and "nāgarī" नागरी; Hindi pronunciation: [deːʋˈnaːɡri]), also called Nagari (Nāgarī, नागरी),[4] is an abugida (alphasyllabary) used in India and Nepal. It is written from left to right, has a strong preference for symmetrical rounded shapes within squared outlines, and is recognisable by a horizontal line that runs along the top of full letters.[5] In a cursory look, the Devanagari script appears different from other Indic scripts such as Eastern Nagari, Odia, or Gurmukhi, but a closer examination reveals they are very similar except for angles and structural emphasis.[5]

The Nagari script has roots in the ancient Brāhmī script family.[6] Some of the earliest epigraphical evidence attesting to the developing Sanskrit Nagari script in ancient India, in a form similar to Devanagari, is from the 1st to 4th century CE inscriptions discovered in Gujarat.[1] The Nagari script was in regular use by the 7th century CE and it was fully developed by about the end of first millennium.[4][7] The use of Sanskrit in Nagari script in medieval India is attested by numerous pillar and cave temple inscriptions, including the 11th-century Udayagiri inscriptions in Madhya Pradesh,[8] and an inscribed brick found in Uttar Pradesh, dated to be from 1217 CE, which is now held at the British Museum.[9] The script's proto- and related versions have been discovered in ancient relics outside of India, such as in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Indonesia; while in East Asia, Siddha Matrika script considered as the closest precursor to Nagari was in use by Buddhists.[10][11] Nagari has been the primus inter pares of the Indic scripts.[10] It has long been used traditionally by religiously educated people in South Asia to record and transmit information, existing throughout the land in parallel with a wide variety of local scripts (such as Modi, Kaithi, and Mahajani) used for administration, commerce, and other daily uses.

The Devanagari script is used for over 120 languages,[12] making it one of the most used and adopted writing systems in the world.[13] Among the languages using it – as either their only script or one of their scripts – are Hindi,[14] Sanskrit, Pali, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Braj Bhasha, Chhattisgarhi, Haryanvi, Magahi, Nagpuri, Rajasthani, Bhili, Dogri, Marathi, Nepali, Maithili, Kashmiri, Konkani, Sindhi, Bodo, Nepalbhasa,Malayalam Mundari and Santali.[12] The Devanagari script is closely related to the Nandinagari script commonly found in numerous ancient manuscripts of South India,[15][16] and it is distantly related to a number of southeast Asian scripts.[12]

Devanagari script has 47 primary characters, of which 14 are vowels and 33 are consonants.[10] The ancient Nagari script for Sanskrit had two additional consonantal characters.[10] Unlike the Latin alphabet, the script has no concept of letter case.[17] Generally the orthography of the script reflects the pronunciation of the language.[12]


Devanagari is part of the Brahmic family of scripts of India, Nepal, Tibet, and South-East Asia.[18] It is a descendant of the 3rd century BCE Brahmi script through the Gupta script, along with Siddham and Sharada.[18] Variants of script called Nāgarī, recognisably close to Devanagari, are first attested from the 1st century CE Rudradaman inscriptions in Sanskrit, while the modern standardised form of Devanagari was in use by about 1000 CE.[7][19] Medieval inscriptions suggest widespread diffusion of the Nagari-related scripts, with biscripts presenting local script along with the adoption of Nagari scripts. For example, the mid 8th-century Pattadakal pillar in Karnataka has text in both Siddha Matrika script, and an early Telugu-Kannada script; while, the Kangra Jvalamukhi inscription in Himachal Pradesh is written in both Sharada and Devanagari scripts.[20]

Brahmi-Gupta-Devanagari evolution.

The 7th-century Tibetan king Srong-tsan-gambo ordered that all foreign books be transcribed into the Tibetan language. He sent his ambassador Tonmi Sambota to India to acquire alphabet and writing methods; returning with Sanskrit Nagari script from Kashmir corresponding to 24 Tibetan sounds and innovating new symbols for 6 local sounds.[21] Other closely related scripts such as Siddham Matrka were in use in Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan and other parts of East Asia by between 7th- to 10th-century.[22][23] Sharada remained in parallel use in Kashmir. An early version of Devanagari is visible in the Kutila inscription of Bareilly dated to Vikram Samvat 1049 (i.e. 992 CE), which demonstrates the emergence of the horizontal bar to group letters belonging to a word.[2] One of the oldest surviving Sanskrit texts from the early post-Maurya period consists of 1,413 Nagari pages of a commentary by Patanjali, with a composition date of about 150 BCE, the surviving copy transcribed about 14th century CE.[24]

Nāgarī is the Sanskrit feminine of Nāgara "relating or belonging to a town or city, urban". It is a phrasing with lipi ("script") as nāgarī lipi "script relating to a city", or "spoken in city".[25]

Uṣṇīṣa Vijaya Dhāraṇī Sūtra in Siddham on palm-leaf in 609 CE. Hōryū-ji, Japan. The last line is a complete Sanskrit syllabary in Siddhaṃ script

The use of the name devanāgarī emerged from the older term nāgarī.[18] According to Fischer, Nagari emerged in the northwest Indian subcontinent around 633 CE, was fully developed by the 11th-century, and was one of the major scripts used for the Sanskrit literature.[18]

Southeast Asia

Most of the southeast Asian scripts have roots in the Dravidian scripts, except for a few found in south-central regions of Java and isolated parts of southeast Asia that resemble Devanagari or its prototype. The Kawi script in particular is similar to the Devanagari in many respects though the morphology of the script has local changes. The earliest inscriptions in the Devanagari-like scripts are from around the 10th-century, with many more between 11th- and 14th-century.[26][27] Some of the old-Devanagari inscriptions are found in Hindu temples of Java, such as the Prambanan temple.[28] The Ligor and the Kalasan inscriptions of central Java, dated to the 8th-century, are also in the Nagari script of North India. According to the epigraphist and Asian Studies scholar Lawrence Briggs, these may be related to the 9th-century copper plate inscription of Devapaladeva (Bengal) which is also in early Devanagari script.[29] The term Kawi in Kawi script is a loan word from Kavya (poetry). According to anthropologists and Asian Studies scholars John Norman Miksic and Goh Geok Yian, the 8th-century version of early Nagari or Devanagari script was adopted in Java, Bali (Indonesia), and Khmer (Cambodia) around 8th or 9th-century, as evidenced by the many inscriptions of this period.[30]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Devanagari
العربية: ديوناكري
asturianu: Devanagari
azərbaycanca: Devanaqari
Bahasa Banjar: Dewanagari
беларуская: Дэванагары
भोजपुरी: देवनागरी
български: Деванагари
Boarisch: Devanagari
bosanski: Devanagari
brezhoneg: Devanāgarī
català: Devanagari
čeština: Dévanágarí
Cymraeg: Devanāgarī
dansk: Devanagari
davvisámegiella: Devanagari
Deutsch: Devanagari
डोटेली: देवनागरी
español: Devanagari
Esperanto: Nagario
euskara: Devanagari
فارسی: دیواناگری
Fiji Hindi: Devanagri
français: Devanagari
Gàidhlig: Devanāgarī
galego: Devanágari
ગુજરાતી: દેવનાગરી
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: देवनागरी लिपी
հայերեն: Դևանագարի
हिन्दी: देवनागरी
hrvatski: Devanagari
Bahasa Indonesia: Aksara Dewanagari
íslenska: Devanagarí
ქართული: დევანაგარი
қазақша: Деванагари
Kiswahili: Devanagari
kurdî: Devanagarî
Latina: Devanagari
latviešu: Dēvanāgarī
Lingua Franca Nova: Alfabeta devanagari
मैथिली: देवनागरी
македонски: Деванагари
Malagasy: Devanagari
മലയാളം: ദേവനാഗരി
मराठी: देवनागरी
მარგალური: დევანაგარი
Bahasa Melayu: Aksara Dewanagari
Nederlands: Devanagari
नेपाल भाषा: देवनागरी लिपि
Nordfriisk: Devanagari
norsk nynorsk: Devanagari
occitan: Devanagari
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Devanagari
پنجابی: دیوناگری
português: Devanágari
română: Devanagari
Romani: Devnagrī
русский: Деванагари
संस्कृतम्: देवनागरी
Scots: Devanagari
Simple English: Devanagari
slovenčina: Dévanágarí
српски / srpski: Деванагари
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Devanagari
suomi: Devanagari
svenska: Devanāgarī
Tagalog: Devanagari
தமிழ்: தேவநாகரி
తెలుగు: దేవనాగరి
тоҷикӣ: Деванагарӣ
Türkçe: Devanagari
українська: Деванаґарі
Tiếng Việt: Devanagari
吴语: 天城文
粵語: 天城字
中文: 天城文