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Learn Sanskrit - Sanskrit Alphabets - Letters (Varnamala)


This post deals with Sanskrit alphabets pronunciation, writing for beginners. We will study the Sanskrit alphabet chart with pictures, their places of pronunciation/articulation as well as their classification. At the end of the post, you can download a PDF that has a chart of Sanskrit alphabets. 

स्वराः  - swarah (vowels)
अ  आ  इ  ई  उ  ऊ  ऋ  ॠ  लृ  ए  ऐ  ओ  औ
a  ā  i  ī  u  ū  ṛ  ṝ  ḷ  e  ai  o  au
ंं – अनुस्वारः    ंः – विसर्गः
ṃ - anusvāraḥ    ḥ - visargaḥ

व्यञ्जनानि vyanjanaani (consonants)
क्  ख्  ग  घ्  ङ्
k  kh  g  gh  ṅ
च्  छ्  ज्  झ्  ञ्
c  ch  j  jh  ñ
ट्  ठ्  ड्  ढ्  ण्
ṭ  ṭh  ḍ  ḍh  ṇ
त्  थ्  द्  ध्  न्
t  th  d  dh  n
प्  फ्  ब्  भ्  म्
p  ph  b  bh  m
य्  र्  ल्  व्
y  r  l  v
श्  ष्  स्
ś  ṣ  s

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Ø  In general, sentences are formed by words that are formed by letters (sounds)
Ø  In Sanskrit these sounds are called ‘वर्णs’
Ø  They are arranged in particular scientific order
Sanskrit alphabets
  • Basic वर्णs - अ इ उ ऋ लृ ए ऐ ओ औ (9)
  • ह्रस्व ( short vowels) - अ इ उ ऋ लृ and 
    दीर्घ (Long vowels) – आ ई ऊ ॠ ए ऐ ओ औ
  • (अ - आ), (इ - ई), (उ - ऊ), (ऋ- ॠ) these vowels are सवर्णs of each other. सवर्ण literally means ‘similar’.

  • Consonants are broadly divided into five categories (25)
  • य्, र्, ल्, व्, श्, ष्, स्, ह् (8)
  • So, there are 25+8=33 consonants in total.
  • Follow this link to know how exactly you can pronounce the individual letter.
  • The अनुस्वार (ं) and the विसर्ग (ः) are included in the वर्णमाला and are called as स्वराश्रितs because they are always dependent upon the vowels.
  • Places of pronouncing the स्वरs and व्यञ्जनs are also determined.

    sanskrit alphabets places of articulation

    places of articulation sanskrit alphabets
  • ङ्, ञ्, ण्, न्, म् are also called as अनुनासिकs or nasals because while pronouncing these consonants, the nose is used as well. This means that these letters are pronounced with the help of nose and their respective places of articulation
  • Wikipedia link for some more references - Devanagari script

Download this page as PDF

Learn Sanskrit - Sanskrit Alphabets (Varnamala) PDF

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Bipra's picture

1st try