Nandinagari is a Brahmi-based script that was used in southern India between the 8th and 19th centuries AD for producing manuscripts and inscriptions in Sanskrit in south Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It derives from the central group of Nagari scripts and is related to Devanagari.
Nandi Nagari script was used to write Sanskrit language, and most of the Sanskrit copper plate inscriptions of the Vijayanagar period are written in that script.
There are innumerable manuscripts written in Nandinagari, covering vast areas of knowledge, such as Vedas, philosophy, religion, science and arts. These are preserved in the manuscript libraries, particularly those in the southern regions of the country. It uses the system of numerals that is used in Kannada script.
It is difficult to present any exact etymological meaning of the name "Nandinagari". The first part of the term "Nandi" is rather ambiguous in the present context. It may mean "sacred" or "auspicious" (cf. Nandi verses in Sanskrit drama). Nandi is the name of Lord Siva's Vrishabhavahana (bull vehicle). Nandi bull is widely worshipped in the South, particularly in Karnataka.
Wikimedia http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Nandinagari has a couple of high resolution photos of copper plates in Nandinagari. http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/features/06-07/features681.htm discusses some aspects of the script.
There is currently a proposal to assign a Unicode block for Nandinagari.
A Nandinagari manuscript
- Decline and fall of Buddhism: a tragedy in ancient India. Blumoon Books,. 2004. pp. 345 pages.
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