Grantha – 1 – Vowels



| ॐ नमः सर्वज्ञाय । ஓம்ʼ  நம​: ஸர்வஜ்ஞாய |



||कारो मुखः सर्वधर्माणां आद्यनुत्पन्नत्वात्  ||

|| காரோ முக²​: ஸர்வத⁴ர்மாணாம்ʼ ஆத்³யநுத்பந்நத்வாத் ||

|| ‘a‘ is the door to all Dharmas, for they are all originally unproduced  ||

Vijayadashami is usually a very special day to start, any related to Vidya. It is very auspicious to start Akshara Abhyasa [अक्षर अभ्यास அக்ஷர அப்⁴யாஸ akshara_abhyasa_grantha] at this day. Traditionally, Children are made to write the letter “அ अ“, and start their education. 

So, in this auspicious day of Vijayadashami, lets start our lessons on Grantha Lipi. 🙂

We’ll start our lesson with the Vowels a.k.a Svara-s. [ स्वरा: ஸ்வரா: – ஸ்வரங்கள் svarah-grantha]

Sanskrit has 14 Svara-s and 2 Ubhayākṣara-s [உப⁴யாக்ஷர उभयाक्षर ubhayakshara_grantha ] that go along with the Svara-s.

The 14 Svara-s in order are:

 a அ अ




ā ஆ आ


i இ इ


ī ஈ ई 


u உ उ


ū ஊ ऊ




ருʼ ṛ ऋ


ரூʼ ṝ ॠ 


லுʼ ḷ ऌ 


லூʼ ḹ ॡ


e ஏ ए


ai ஐ ऐ


o ஓ ओ


au ஔ औ


As you would have noted, some letters are same as that in Tamil and some are similar to that of Tamil. Lets sum up the similar letters:

Same letters as in Tamil:


Letters similar to that in Tamil:


Therefore, you would need to remember, only the following distinct forms.


The other letters are only used very rarely, learn them at your own pace 🙂


Pronunciation of Letters

I want to specifically write about the pronunciation of the following 4 letters. The other letters have the same pronunciation as in Tamil.

R_Grantha – Must be pronounced similar to the ‘ரு’ in கி’ரு’ஷ்ணன்.

           Approximately, it has a pronunciation between /ri/ and /ru/

RR_Grantha – It is the longer counterpart of the above letter.

lR_grantha – Similar to the pronunciation of R_Grantha , but with an /l/ sound instead of /r/.

             It is highly erroneous to pronounce it as /lri/ as some people do.

lRR_Grantha – The longer variant of the above letter

I end the lesson with this. Next week, we can see about the Ubhayākṣara-s in detail.

Wouldn’t it be fair, to end the lesson without home work :-P. Try identifying the Akshara-s in the below jumbled text.


Download the lesson as PDF



One thought on “Grantha – 1 – Vowels

  1. I am just 71. Since a long time I used to wonder how small children from pathashalas read grantha script like we read Tamil, Hindi and English. There was no proper channel through which i could learn the script. In the past I was a Sanskrit student. Now that per chance I came across this series and I am happy and grateful for the organizers.

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