How Devanagari, One Of The World’s Oldest Scripts, Came To Be Used In Modern Day Calligraphy

Updated on 22 Jul, 2017 at 3:09 pm


Devanagari, which is also called as Nagari, is the ancient script of India and Nepal. It gives great emphasis on the symmetrical structure of alphabets and the horizontal line that runs across it.

Devanagari manuscript from Bhagavad Gita. Wikimedia Commons


Though at first look it will appear different from other regional languages such as Bengali or Assamese but a closer analysis will reveal that the roots of designing are quite similar. They all hail from roots of the Brahmi script which is complex to decipher and understand.



Calligraphic design of Devanagari alphabets. Wikimedia Commons


Devanagari is a combination of syllables and alphabets and it was widely used to write Sanskrit, Prakrit, Nepali, Hindi and Marathi.


Simple Devanagari calligraphy. Wikimedia Commons


Devanagari script came in use from the 7th Century. Various pillars and temples in South India stand as testimony of the use of this script. Various inscriptions on rocks and caves in history were done in Devanagari. Those which were destroyed by time or natural calamities, their remains have been found in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. Relics have been found not only in India, but in Myanmar and Sri Lanka as well.

Calligraphy of a sutra on Moksha. Wikimedia Commons


Coming from a rich background, many languages, such as Hindi and Sanskrit borrow their structure and design from the Devanagari script.


Nepalese Devanagari calligraphy. Wikimedia Commons


The word Devanagari is a compound meaning ‘Deva’ which means deity and ‘Nagari’ which means city and together it implies a script which is religious and urbane.


Calligraphy saying ‘Yoga’. Wikimedia Commons


Today Devanagari is used in more than 120 languages, and since the time Calligraphy has gained fame, historians and designers have been making beautiful templates in Devanagari. It is one of the world’s oldest languages and styling it with modern styles and patterns gives it an amazing look.

Devanagari calligraphy is popularly used in movie posters, wedding cards, personal art portfolios, paintings and museums. It lets you connect with your roots and give you space to style the alphabets as you desire.

Siddham script calligraphy – once used on Nepal, parts of India, Tibet, Japan, and Vietnam. Wikimedia Commons


Some premium institutions and government office also bear Devanagari on their official logos, like Doordarshan.

Logo of Doordarshan. Wikimedia Commons


The Trade Fair Authority of India:

Logo of Trade Fair Authority of India. Wikimedia Commons


And, the Film and Television Institue of India:

Logo of FTII Film and Television Institue of India. Wikimedia Commons


Watch this mesmerizing video which talks about the history of calligraphy.


While people are trying their hand at calligraphy, UGC has asked University of Delhi to promote it and spread awareness about the rich Indian heritage. Check the news here.



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