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Sharada script

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Sharada script
The word śāradā in Sharada script
Script type
Time period
700 CE –present (almost extinct)[1]
DirectionLeft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
RegionIndia, Pakistan, Central Asia
LanguagesSanskrit, Kashmiri
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
Sister systems
Siddham, Tibetan,[2][3] Kalinga, Bhaiksuki
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Shrd (319), ​Sharada, Śāradā
Unicode alias

The Śāradā, Sarada or Sharada script is an abugida writing system of the Brahmic family of scripts. The script was widespread between the 8th and 12th centuries in the northwestern parts of Indian Subcontinent (in Kashmir and neighbouring areas), for writing Sanskrit and Kashmiri.[4][1][5] Although originally a signature Brahminical script created in the valley, it was more widespread throughout northwestern Indian subcontinent, although became later restricted to Kashmir, and it is now rarely used, except by the Kashmiri Pandit community for religious purposes.[1]

The Gardez Ganesha, a 6th-century marble Ganesha found in Gardez, Afghanistan, now at Dargah Pir Rattan Nath, Kabul. The Sharada inscription says that this "great and beautiful image of Mahāvināyaka" was consecrated by the Shahi King Khingala of Khatriya Country Modern Part of Punjab Pakistan and Afghanistan.[6]

It is a native script of Kashmir and is named after the goddess Śāradā or Saraswati, the goddess of learning and the main Hindu deity of the Sharada Peeth temple.[7]


Bakhshali manuscript
Om in Sharada script

Sharda script is named after the Hindu goddess Śāradā, also known as Saraswati, the goddess of learning and the main Hindu deity of the Sharada Peeth temple.[7]

Although originally a script restricted to only Brahmins, Sharda was later spread throughout the larger Hindu population in Northwestern Indian subcontinent, as Hinduism became the dominant religion in the region again.[7][8][9]

The Bakhshali manuscript uses an early stage of the Sharada script.[4] The Sharada script was used in Afghanistan as well as in the Himachal region in India. In Afghanistan, the Kabul Ganesh has a 6th to 8th century Proto-Sharada[clarification needed] inscription mentioning the, Turk Shahis, king Khingala of Oddiyana.[10] At the historic temple of Mirkula Devi (also Mrikula Devi) in Lahaul, [Himachal Pradesh], the goddess Mahishamardini has a Sharada inscription of 1569 CE.[11]

From the 10th century onwards, regional differences started to appear between the Sharada script used in Punjab, the Hill States (partly Himachal Pradesh) and Kashmir. Sharada proper was eventually restricted to very limited ceremonial use in Kashmir, as it grew increasingly unsuitable for writing the Kashmiri language.[12] With the last known inscription dating to 1204 C.E., the early 13th century marks a milestone in the development of Sharada.[12] The regional variety in Punjab continued to evolve from this stage through the 14th century; during this period it starts to appear in forms closely resembling Gurmukhī and other Landa scripts. By the 15th century, Sharada had evolved so considerably that epigraphists denote the script at this point by a special name, Devāśeṣa.[12]



Transliteration IPA Independent


Dependent position
Glyph Example Special forms
a [ɐ] 𑆃 (none) (𑆥 pa)
ā [aː] 𑆄 𑆳 𑆥𑆳 𑆕𑆕𑆳; 𑆘𑆘𑆳; 𑆛𑆛𑆳; 𑆟𑆟𑆳
i [ɪ] 𑆅 𑆴 𑆥𑆴 pi
ī [iː] 𑆆 𑆵 𑆥𑆵
u [ʊ] 𑆇 𑆶 𑆥𑆶 pu 𑆑𑆑𑆶; 𑆓𑆓𑆶; 𑆙𑆙𑆶; 𑆚𑆚𑆶; 𑆝𑆝𑆶; 𑆠𑆠𑆶; 𑆨𑆨𑆶; 𑆫𑆫𑆶; 𑆯𑆯𑆶
ū [uː] 𑆈 𑆷 𑆥𑆷 𑆑𑆑𑆷; 𑆓𑆓𑆷; 𑆙𑆙𑆷; 𑆚𑆚𑆷; 𑆝𑆝𑆷; 𑆠𑆠𑆷; 𑆨𑆨𑆷; 𑆫𑆫𑆷; 𑆯𑆯𑆷
[r̩] 𑆉 𑆸 𑆥𑆸 pr̥ 𑆑𑆑𑆸
r̥̄ [r̩ː] 𑆊 𑆹 𑆥𑆹 pr̥̄ 𑆑𑆑𑆹
[l̩] 𑆋 𑆺 𑆥𑆺 pl̥
l̥̄ [l̩ː] 𑆌 𑆻 𑆥𑆻 pl̥̄
ē [eː] 𑆍 𑆼 𑆥𑆼
ai [aːi̯], [ai], [ɐi], [ɛi] 𑆎 𑆽 𑆥𑆽 pai
ō [oː] 𑆏 𑆾 𑆥𑆾
au [aːu̯], [au], [ɐu], [ɔu] 𑆐 𑆿 𑆥𑆿 pau
am̐ [◌̃] 𑆃𑆀 𑆀 𑆥𑆀 pam̐
aṃ [n], [m] 𑆃𑆁 𑆁 𑆥𑆁 paṃ
aḥ [h] 𑆃𑆂 𑆂 𑆥𑆂 paḥ


Isolated glyph Transliteration IPA
𑆑 ka [kɐ]
𑆒 kha [kʰɐ]
𑆓 ga [ɡɐ]
𑆔 gha [ɡʱɐ]
𑆕 ṅa [ŋɐ]
𑆖 ca [tɕɐ]
𑆗 cha [tɕʰɐ]
𑆘 ja [dʑɐ]
𑆙 jha [dʑʱɐ]
𑆚 ña [ɲɐ]
𑆛 ṭa [ʈɐ]
𑆜 ṭha [ʈʰɐ]
𑆝 ḍa [ɖɐ]
𑆞 ḍha [ɖʱɐ]
𑆟 ṇa [ɳɐ]
𑆠 ta [tɐ]
𑆡 tha [tʰɐ]
𑆢 da [dɐ]
𑆣 dha [dʱɐ]
𑆤 na [nɐ]
𑆥 pa [pɐ]
𑆦 pha [pʰɐ]
𑆧 ba [bɐ]
𑆨 bha [bʱɐ]
𑆩 ma [mɐ]
𑆪 ya [jɐ]
𑆫 ra [rɐ] , [ɾɐ], [ɽɐ], [ɾ̪ɐ]
𑆬 la [lɐ]
𑆭 ḷa [ɭɐ]
𑆮 va [ʋɐ]
𑆯 śa [ɕɐ]
𑆰 ṣa [ʂɐ]
𑆱 sa [sɐ]
𑆲 ha [ɦɐ]


Sharada Arabic
𑇐 0
𑇑 1
𑇒 2
𑇓 3
𑇔 4
𑇕 5
𑇖 6
𑇗 7
𑇘 8
𑇙 9

Sharada script uses its own signs for the positional decimal numeral system.

Image gallery[edit]


Śāradā script was added to the Unicode Standard in January, 2012 with the release of version 6.1.[13]

The Unicode block for Śāradā script, called Sharada, is U+11180–U+111DF:

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1118x 𑆀 𑆁 𑆂 𑆃 𑆄 𑆅 𑆆 𑆇 𑆈 𑆉 𑆊 𑆋 𑆌 𑆍 𑆎 𑆏
U+1119x 𑆐 𑆑 𑆒 𑆓 𑆔 𑆕 𑆖 𑆗 𑆘 𑆙 𑆚 𑆛 𑆜 𑆝 𑆞 𑆟
U+111Ax 𑆠 𑆡 𑆢 𑆣 𑆤 𑆥 𑆦 𑆧 𑆨 𑆩 𑆪 𑆫 𑆬 𑆭 𑆮 𑆯
U+111Bx 𑆰 𑆱 𑆲 𑆳 𑆴 𑆵 𑆶 𑆷 𑆸 𑆹 𑆺 𑆻 𑆼 𑆽 𑆾 𑆿
U+111Cx 𑇀 𑇁  𑇂   𑇃  𑇄 𑇅 𑇆 𑇇 𑇈 𑇉 𑇊 𑇋 𑇌 𑇍 𑇎 𑇏
U+111Dx 𑇐 𑇑 𑇒 𑇓 𑇔 𑇕 𑇖 𑇗 𑇘 𑇙 𑇚 𑇛 𑇜 𑇝 𑇞 𑇟
1.^ As of Unicode version 15.1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Singh, Upinder (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Pearson Education India. p. 43. ISBN 9788131711200.
  2. ^ Daniels, P.T. (27 March 2008). "Writing systems of major and minor languages". In Kachru, Braj B.; Kachru, Yamuna; Sridhar, S. N. (eds.). Language in South Asia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-139-46550-2.
  3. ^ Masica, Colin (1993). The Indo-Aryan languages. p. 143.
  4. ^ a b Selin, Helaine (2008). Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer Science & Business Media. p. Bakhshali Manuscript entry. Bibcode:2008ehst.book.....S. ISBN 9781402045592.
  5. ^ Sir George Grierson. (1916). "On the Sharada Alphabet". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 17.
  6. ^ For photograph of statue and details of inscription, see: Dhavalikar, M. K., "Gaņeśa: Myth and Reality", in: Brown 1991, pp. 50, 63.
  7. ^ a b c "Pandits to visit Sharda temple". The Hindu. 17 May 2006. Archived from the original on 4 February 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  8. ^ "The Indigenous Script of Kashmir – The Sharda Script". June 12, 2020. Archived from the original on September 24, 2023. Retrieved September 24, 2023.
  9. ^ Fogelin, Lars (2015). An Archaeological History of Indian Buddhism. Oxford University Press. p. 149. ISBN 9780199948239. Retrieved September 24, 2023. ...the emergence and spread of Hinduism through Indian society helped lead to Buddhism's gradual decline in India.
  10. ^ From Persepolis to the Punjab: Exploring Ancient Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Elizabeth Errington, Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis, British Museum Press, 2007 p. 96
  11. ^ Observations on the Architecture and on a Carved Wooden Door of the Temple of Mirkulā Devī at Udaipur, Himachal Pradesh, Francesco Noci, East and West, Vol. 44, No. 1 (March 1994), pp. 99-114
  12. ^ a b c Pandey, Anshuman (2009-03-25). "N3545: Proposal to Encode the Sharada Script in ISO/IEC 10646" (PDF). Working Group Document, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2.
  13. ^ Pandey, Anshuman (2009-08-05). "L2/09-074R2: Proposal to encode the Sharada Script in ISO/IEC 10646" (PDF).

Works cited[edit]

External links[edit]