Dhives Akuru

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Dhives Akuru
𑤝𑤱𑤩𑤴𑤬𑤽 𑤥𑤌𑤳𑤧𑤳(Dives Akuru), 𑤝𑤱𑤩𑤴𑤭𑤱 𑤥𑤌𑤳𑤧𑤳(Divehi Akuru)
Shukla Dhivehi Akuru.svg
'Dhivehi Akuru' in Dives Akuru modern typeface
Script type
Time period
6th-8th century CE to end of 19th century
Directionleft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
Related scripts
Parent systems
Sister systems


ISO 15924
ISO 15924Diak (342), ​Dives Akuru
Unicode alias
Dives Akuru
[a] The Semitic origin of the Brahmic scripts is not universally agreed upon.
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
The last version of the Maldivian script used after the conversion of people to Islam around the 1700s.
Standard Indic order. This table is provided as a reference for the position of the letters on the table.

Dhives Akuru or Dhivehi Akuru (island letters) is a script formerly used to write the Maldivian language. This script was called Dives Akuru by H. C. P. Bell, as the "d" is unaspirated.


Dhives Akuru developed from Brahmi. The oldest attested inscription bears a clear resemblance to South Indian epigraphical records of the sixth-eighth centuries, written in local subtypes of the Brahmi script.[1] The letters on later inscriptions are clearly of the cursive type, strongly reminding of the medieval scripts used in Sri Lanka and South India such as Sinhala, Grantha and Vatteluttu. There are also some elements from the Kannada-Telugu scripts.[2][1] The form of this script attested in loamaafaanu (copper plates) of the 12th and 13th centuries and in inscriptions on coral stone dating back to the Buddhist period (~200 BC to 1153 CE) was called by Bell Evēla Akuru (ancient letters) to distinguish it from the more recent variants of the same script. The most recent form (starting from 14th century) was more calligraphic and the letter forms changed a little. Like other Brahmic scripts, Dhives Akuru descended ultimately from the Brahmi script and thus was written from left to right.

'Dhivehi Akuru' in recent Dives Akuru script. Notice how the ancient calligraphy is quite different from the modern typeface

Dhives Akuru was still used in some southern atolls alongside with Thaana until the end of the 19th century. The last known official document from the southern atolls (in Dhives Akuru and Thaana) was written by Haajee Muhammad Kaleygefaanu in 1927.[3] Since then its use has been limited to scholars and hobbyists. It can still be found on gravestones and some monuments, including the stone base of the pillars supporting the main structure of the ancient Friday mosque in Malé. Bell obtained an astrology book written in Dhives Akuru in Addu Atoll, in the south of the Maldives, during one of his trips. This book is now kept in the National Archives of Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Bodufenvalhuge Sidi, an eminent Maldivian scholar, wrote a book called Divehi Akuru in 1959, prompted by then Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir.[4]


The Dhives Akuru script was added to Unicode version 13.0 in March 2020, with 72 characters located in the Dives Akuru block (U+11900–U+1195F):[5]

Dives Akuru[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1190x 𑤀 𑤁 𑤂 𑤃 𑤄 𑤅 𑤆 𑤉 𑤌 𑤍 𑤎 𑤏
U+1191x 𑤐 𑤑 𑤒 𑤓 𑤕 𑤖 𑤘 𑤙 𑤚 𑤛 𑤜 𑤝 𑤞 𑤟
U+1192x 𑤠 𑤡 𑤢 𑤣 𑤤 𑤥 𑤦 𑤧 𑤨 𑤩 𑤪 𑤫 𑤬 𑤭 𑤮 𑤯
U+1193x 𑤰 𑤱 𑤲 𑤳 𑤴 𑤵 𑤷 𑤸 𑤻 𑤼 𑤽  𑤾   𑤿 
U+1194x 𑥀  𑥁  𑥂 𑥃 𑥄 𑥅 𑥆
U+1195x 𑥐 𑥑 𑥒 𑥓 𑥔 𑥕 𑥖 𑥗 𑥘 𑥙
1.^ As of Unicode version 15.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points


  • Bell, H.C.P. Excerpta Maldiviana. Reprint 1922-1935 edn. New Delhi 1998.
  • Bell, H.C.P. The Maldive islands. Monograph on the History, Archaeology and Epigraphy. Reprint 1940 edn. Male' 1986.
  • Divehi Bahuge Qawaaaid. Vols 1 to 5. Ministry of Education. Male' 1978.
  • Divehīnge Tarika. Divehīnge Bas. Divehibahāi Tārikhah Khidumaiykurā Qaumī Majlis. Male’ 2000.
  • Geiger, Wilhelm. Maldivian Linguistic Studies. Reprint 1919 edn. Novelty Press. Male’ 1986.
  • Gunasena, Bandusekara. The Evolution of the Sinhalese Script. Godage Poth Mendura. Colombo 1999.
  • Romero-Frias, Xavier. The Maldive Islanders, A Study of the Popular Culture of an Ancient Ocean Kingdom. Barcelona 1999.
  • Sivaramamurti, C. Indian Epigraphy and South Indian Scripts. Bulletin of the Madras Government Museum. Chennai 1999.
  • Sidi, Bodufenvalhuge (1959). Divehi Akuru (in Divehi). Vol.1. Malé: Mahkamathul Irshaadh.


  1. ^ a b Gippert, Jost (2005). "A Glimpse into the Buddhist Past of the Maldives: I. An Early Prakrit Inscription" (PDF). Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens. 1 (18): 82–83. doi:10.1553/wzksxlviiis81. ISSN 0084-0084.
  2. ^ Mohamed, Naseema (2005). "Note on the Early History of the Maldives". Archipel. 70 (1). doi:10.3406/arch.2005.3970. ISSN 0044-8613.
  3. ^ Anshuman, Pandey (2018-01-23). Proposal to encode Dives Akuru in Unicode (PDF). Unico. pp. 4, 70.
  4. ^ Sidi, Bodufenvalhuge (1959). Divehi Akuru (in Divehi). Vol. 1. Malé: Mahkamathul Irshaadh.
  5. ^ "Unicode 13.0.0". unicode.org. Retrieved 2020-02-06.

See also[edit]