Kadamba script
Script type
Time period
4–7th century CE[1]
DirectionLeft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
Kannada-Telugu alphabet, Goykanadi,[2] Pyu script[3]
 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 Kadamba script is the first writing system devised specifically for writing Kannada and it was later adopted to write Telugu language[4].The Kadamba script is also known as Pre-Old-Kannada script.

The Kadamba script is one of the oldest of the southern group of the Brahmi script. By the 5th century CE it became distinct from other Brahmi variants and was used in southern Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It evolved into the Kannada-Telugu alphabet by the 10th century CE and was used to write Kannada and Telugu.[5] It is also related to the Sinhala script.[6]


Kadamba coinage
Coin of Kadamba king Sri Manarashi, name written in Kadamba script
Sri manarashi written in Kadamba script on Kadamba coin
Coin of the Kadambas written in Kadamba script as sri dosharashi and other side Shri shashankaha
Sri dosharashi written in Kadamba script on Kadamba coin

During the rule of Kadamba dynasty (325-550), major change in the Brahmi script resulted in the Kadamba Kannada script, letters were shorter and round in shape. During (325 to 1000 AD) the rule of the Western Ganga dynasty in the southern parts of Karnataka the Kannada script used differently (also known as Ganga script) in rock edicts and copper plate inscriptions. During 6th to 10th century, the Telugu-Kannada alphabet stabilized during the rule of the Chalukyas of Badami from 500-1000[7] and Rastrakutas.[citation needed]

Inscriptions in Kadamba script

Sanskrit language written in Kannada-Telugu script of Eastern Chalukyas in 10th century AD
Prakrit Grantha inscription of Kadamba ruler Vishnuvarman (c. 5th-6th century CE) from Edakkal (northern Kerala)

See also


  1. ^ Diringer, David (1948). Alphabet a key to the history of mankind. p. 381.
  2. ^ "Goykanadi script".
  3. ^ Aung-Thwin, Michael (2005). The mists of Rāmañña: The Legend that was Lower Burma (illustrated ed.). Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-2886-8.
  4. ^ Diringer, David (1948). Alphabet a key to the history of mankind. p. 381.
  5. ^ "Scripts fading away with time". Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  6. ^ Jayarajan, Paul M. (1 January 1976). History of the Evolution of the Sinhala Alphabet. Colombo Apothecaries' Company, Limited.
  7. ^ Kipfer, Barbara Ann (2000). Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 692. ISBN 978-0-306-46158-3.
  8. ^ Rajiv Ajjibal (16 December 2011). "Monuments crying for attention". The Hindu. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Government Museum Chennai". Chennaimuseum.org. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Kannada inscription at Talagunda may replace Halmidi as oldest". Deccan Herald. 12 January 2017.