Kamarupi script

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Kamarupi script
Kamrupi script
Languages Old and Middle Kamrupi language
Time period
Unknown-late second millennium
Parent systems

Kamarupi script[1] (ancient Assamese script) and sometimes as ancient Kamrupi script[2] was the script used in ancient Kamarupa between the 5th and the 13th centuries, from which modern Assamese script and Bengali evolved.[3] For the Assamese script, this was the first of three chronological stages of development, the other two being medieval and modern Assamese scripts.[4]

The Kamarupa inscriptions were engraved during this development period, and they display the development of this script in this period. The scripts of the 5th-century Umachal and Nagajari-Khanikargaon rock inscriptions are nearly identical to the eastern variety of the Gupta script,[5] which over the centuries evolved into the proto-Assamese script of the 12th-century Kanai-Boroxiboa inscriptions.[6]

S. N. Sarma has observed that the Assamese script pertaining to the period from the 6th century to the twelfth century can be termed as the ancient Kamrupi script. The Kamrupi script took the form of the old Assamese script in the latter period.[2]


The Kamrupi script originated from Gupta script,[7] which in turn developed from Brahmi script. Sometimes, Kamrupi script origins are traced to Kutila script, which is not widely accepted.[8]


Kamrupi script had four variations, namely: (1) "Gadgaya" used around Gadgaon, (2) "Bamonia" used in preparation of Sanskrit texts, used by Brahmins, (3) "Kaitheli" used by the Kayasthas and (4) "Lakhri" used by common people in Kamrup.[9] Later two varieties are exclusive to Western Assam.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Assamese script of the period from the fifth to the thirteenth century may be termed as the ancient Assamese script or the Kamarupi script" (Goswami 1983, p. 23)
  2. ^ a b Assam district gazetteers - Volume 6 (1976), Page 478 "S. N. Sarma has observed that the Assamese script pertaining to the period from the 6th century to the twelfth century can be termed as the ancient Kamrupi script."
  3. ^ (Goswami 1983, p. 27)
  4. ^ "The Kamarupi script developed into the medieval Assamese script and the latter into the modern Assamese script" (Goswami 1983, p. 27)
  5. ^ (Lahiri 1991, pp. 58–59)
  6. ^ (Lahiri 1991, pp. 57–58)
  7. ^ "The a, i, ka, ga, na, ta, da, na, ma, ra and va of the Umachal and Barganga inscriptions are fairly similar to those of the Allahabad inscription (of Samudragupta)" (Lahiri 1991, p. 59)
  8. ^ Joshi, Margabandhu, Sharma, Bisht, Jagat Pati, Chedarambattu, Arun Kumar, Ranvir Singh (2002). Puraratna: emerging trends in archaeology, art, anthropology, conservation, and history : in honour of Shri Jagat Pati Joshi, Volume 2. Agam Kala Prakashan. p. 430. 
  9. ^ Les Langues Ecrites Du Monde: Releve Du Degre Et Des Modes D'Utilisation (1978), p.39


  • Bora, Mahendra (1981). The Evolution of Assamese Script. Jorhat, Assam: Assam Sahitya Sabha. 
  • Goswami, Upendranath (1983). "The Assamese Script". Journal of the Assam Research Society. Kamarupa Anusandhan Samiti. 27. 
  • Lahiri, Nayanjot (1991). Pre-Ahom Assam: Studies in the Inscriptions of Assam between the Fifth and the Thirteenth Centuries AD. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd. 
  • Verma, Thakur Prasad (1976). Development of Script in Ancient Kamrupa. Asam Sahitya Sabha.