Kharosthi Kharoṣṭhī

The Kharosthi, or Kharoṣṭhī, script was invented sometime during the 3rd century BC, and was possibly derived from the Aramaic script. It was used in Gandhara, an ancient kingdom in what is now the northwest of Pakistan, and the Jalalabad district of Afghanistan. Kharosthi texts have also been found along the Silk Road in Bactria, Kushan, Sogdia, and in parts of China.

By the 4th century AD the script was no longer used in Gandhara, but may have been used until the 7th centuries in places such as Khotan / Hotan (和田), in what is now Xinjiang in the northeast of China.

Kharosthi has no known descendants, although it is possible that the Old Turkic (Orkhon) script may have developed from Kharoshthi.

Kharoshti was deciphered during the 19th century by James Prinsep, Christian Lassen, C.L. Grotefend and Edwin Norris. Bilingual inscriptions in Gandhari and Greek on coins helped with the decipherment. Since then further material has been found and the script is now better understood.

Notable features

Used to write

Gandhari, of Gāndhārī, a Prakrit language used in inscriptions in the Kharosthi script between the 3rd century BC and the 4th century AD, and possibly until the 7th century AD.

Sanskrit (संस्कृतम्), a classical language of India, which is still used as a religious and ceremonial language, and as a spoken language to some extent.

Pali (पालि), the classical language of Theravada Buddhism that was first used in Sri Lanka during the 1st century BC.

Kharosthi script


Kharosthi consonants

Kharosthi vowels, numerals and punctuation

Sample text

Kharosthi sample text


Information about Kharosthi and Gandharaāndhārī_language

ALPHABETUM - a Unicode font for ancient scripts, including Classical & Medieval Latin, Ancient Greek, Etruscan, Oscan, Umbrian, Faliscan, Messapic, Picene, Iberian, Celtiberian, Gothic, Runic, Old & Middle English, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Old Nordic, Ogham, Kharosthi, Glagolitic, Anatolian scripts, Phoenician, Brahmi, Imperial Aramaic, Old Turkic, Old Permic, Ugaritic, Linear B, Phaistos Disc, Meroitic, Coptic, Cypriot and Avestan.

Some of the writing systems used to write Sanskrit

Bhaiksuki, Brāhmi, Devanāgari, Galik, Grantha, Gupta, Kadamba, Kharosthi, Nandinagari, Sharda, Siddham, Thai, Tibetan

Abugidas / Syllabic alphabets

Ahom, Aima, Arleng, Badagu, Badlit, Basahan, Balinese, Balti-A, Balti-B, Batak, Baybayin, Bengali, Bhaiksuki, Bhujimol, Bilang-bilang, Bima, Blackfoot, Brahmi, Buhid, Burmese, Carrier, Chakma, Cham, Cree, Dehong Dai, Devanagari, Dham Lipi, Dhankari / Sirmauri, Ditema, Dives Akuru, Dogra, Ethiopic, Evēla Akuru, Fox, Fraser, Gond, Goykanadi, Grantha, Gujarati, Gunjala Gondi, Gupta, Gurmukhi, Halbi Lipi, Hanifi, Hanuno'o, Hočąk, Ibalnan, Incung, Inuktitut, Jaunsari Takri, Javanese, Kaithi, Kadamba, Kamarupi, Kannada, Kawi, Kharosthi, Khema, Khe Prih, Khmer, Khojki, Khudabadi, Kirat Rai, Kōchi, Komering, Kulitan, Kurukh Banna, Lampung, Lanna, Lao, Lepcha, Limbu, Lontara/Makasar, Lota Ende, Magar Akkha, Mahajani, Malayalam, Meitei (Modern), Manpuri (Old), Marchen, Meetei Yelhou Mayek, Meroïtic, Masarm Gondi, Modi, Mon, Mongolian Horizontal Square Script, Multani, Nandinagari, Newa, New Tai Lue, Ojibwe, Odia, Ogan, Pahawh Hmong, Pallava, Phags-pa, Purva Licchavi, Qiang / Rma, Ranjana, Rejang (Kaganga), Sasak, Savara, Satera Jontal, Shan, Sharda, Siddham, Sinhala, Sorang Sompeng, Sourashtra, Soyombo, Sukhothai, Sundanese, Syloti Nagri, Tagbanwa, Takri, Tamil, Tanchangya (Ka-Pat), Tani, Thaana, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Tigalari, Tikamuli, Tocharian, Tolong Siki, Vatteluttu, Warang Citi

Other writing systems

Page last modified: 15.03.23


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