Script type
Time period
4–7th century CE [1][2]
Directionleft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesKannada, Telugu, Sanskrit, Konkani
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
Kannada-Telugu alphabet, Goykanadi,[6] Pyu script[7]
 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 Telugu. It is a descendant of the Brahmi script. The Kadamba script is also known as Pre-Old-Kannada script.[citation needed]

The Kadamba script is one of the oldest of the southern group of Brahmic scripts that evolved from the Brahmi script. It evolved from the Bhattiprolu script by the 5th-century CE.[3][4][5] It became distinct from other Brahmi variants and was used in southern Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Later, it evolved into the Telugu-Kannada script by the 10th century CE and was used to write Telugu and Kannada.[8] It is also related to the Sinhala script.[9]


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 Kannada-Telugu alphabet stabilized during the rule of the Chalukyas of Badami from 500-1000[10] and Rastrakutas.[citation needed]

Inscriptions in Kadamba script

Prakrit Grantha inscription of Kadamba ruler Vishnuvarman (c. 5th-6th century CE) from Edakkal (northern Kerala)
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. ^ Ramesh (1984), p2, pp10-11
  3. ^ a b The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems by Florian Coulmas, p. 228
  4. ^ a b Handbook of Literacy in Akshara Orthography, R. Malatesha Joshi, Catherine McBride (2019), p. 29
  5. ^ a b Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in the Indo-Aryan Languages, by Richard Solomon, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 35, 40–41, ISBN 0-19-509984-2
  6. ^ "Goykanadi script".
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Scripts fading away with time". Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  9. ^ Jayarajan, Paul M. (1 January 1976). History of the Evolution of the Sinhala Alphabet. Colombo Apothecaries' Company, Limited.
  10. ^ Kipfer, Barbara Ann (2000). Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 692. ISBN 978-0-306-46158-3.
  11. ^ Rajiv Ajjibal (16 December 2011). "Monuments crying for attention". The Hindu. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Government Museum Chennai". Chennaimuseum.org. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  13. ^ "Kannada inscription at Talagunda may replace Halmidi as oldest". Deccan Herald. 12 January 2017.