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Tirhuta, Mithilakshar


Stone Inscription from Simroungarh
Languages Maithili, Sanskrit
Time period
c. 12th–mid 20th century
Sister systems
Bengali, Assamese
Direction Left-to-right
ISO 15924 Tirh, 326
Unicode alias


Final Accepted Script Proposal

Tirhuta or Mithilakshar is the script used for the Maithili language originating in the Mithila region of Bihar, India and the eastern Terai region of Nepal. The oldest reference to Tirhuta script is in Janaki Mandir where Rama and Sita are believed to have wed.[1] The script has a rich history spanning a thousand years, believed to be originated in the 1st century AD, but years of neglect by Nepal and the Bihar government have taken their toll on the use of Tirhuta, it is similar to Bengali script. Most speakers of Maithili have switched to using the Devanagari script, which is also used to write neighboring Central Indic languages such as Nepali and Hindi, as a result, the number of people with a working knowledge of Tirhuta has dropped considerably in recent years.

History and current status[edit]

The oldest specimen of Tirhuta is at Janaki Mandir, it is one of the place that had a major role in the development of the Sanskrit language. Despite the near universal switch from Tirhuta to the Devanagari script for writing Maithili, some traditional pundits still use the script for sending one another ceremonial letters (pātā) related to some important function such as marriage. Fonts for this script were developed in 2003.[1]

The 2003 inclusion of Maithili in the VIIIth Schedule of the Indian Constitution having accorded official recognition to it as a language independent of Hindi, there is a possibility that this might lead to efforts to reimplement Tirhuta on a wider basis, in accord with similar trends in India reinforcing separate identities. However, currently, only Maithili in the Devanagari script is officially recognized.

Signs of the script[edit]

Consonant signs[edit]

Sign Transcription
Image Text IAST IPA
Tirhuta letter KA 𑒏 ka /ka/
Tirhuta letter KHA 𑒐 kha /kʰа/
Tirhuta letter GA 𑒑 ga /gа/
Tirhuta letter GHA 𑒒 gha /gʱа/
Tirhuta letter NGA 𑒓 ṅa /ŋа/
Tirhuta letter CA 𑒔 ca /t͡ʃa/
Tirhuta letter CHA 𑒕 cha /t͡ʃʰa/
Tirhuta letter JA 𑒖 ja /d͡ʒa/
Tirhuta letter JHA 𑒗 jha /d͡ʒʱa/
Tirhuta letter NYA 𑒘 ña /ɲa/
Tirhuta letter TTA 𑒙 ṭa /ʈa/
Tirhuta letter TTHA 𑒚 ṭha /ʈʰa/
Tirhuta letter DDA 𑒛 ḍa /ɖa/
Tirhuta letter DDHA 𑒜 ḍha /ɖʱa/
Tirhuta letter NNA 𑒝 ṇa /ɳa/
Tirhuta letter TA 𑒞 ta /t̪a/
Tirhuta letter THA 𑒟 tha /t̪ʰa/
Tirhuta letter DA 𑒠 da /d̪a/
Tirhuta letter DHA 𑒡 dha /d̪ʱa/
Tirhuta letter NA 𑒢 na /na/
Tirhuta letter PA 𑒣 pa /pa/
Tirhuta letter PHA 𑒤 pha /pʰa/
Tirhuta letter BA 𑒥 ba /ba/
Tirhuta letter BHA 𑒦 bha /bʱa/
Tirhuta letter MA 𑒧 ma /ma/
Tirhuta letter YA 𑒨 ya /ja/
Tirhuta letter RA 𑒩 ra /ra/
Tirhuta letter LA 𑒪 la /la/
Tirhuta letter VA 𑒫 va /ʋa/
Tirhuta letter SHA 𑒬 śa /ʃa/
Tirhuta letter SSA 𑒭 ṣa /ʂa/
Tirhuta letter SA 𑒮 sa /sa/
Tirhuta letter HA 𑒯 ha /ɦa/


Independent Dependent Transcription
Image Text Image Text IAST IPA
Tirhuta letter A 𑒁 a /а/
Tirhuta letter АА 𑒂 Tirhuta vowel sign АА  𑒰 ā /а:/
Tirhuta letter І 𑒃 Tirhuta vowel sign І  𑒱 і /і/
Tirhuta letter ІІ 𑒄 Tirhuta vowel sign ІІ  𑒲 ī /і:/
Tirhuta letter U 𑒅 Tirhuta vowel sign U  𑒳 u /u/
Tirhuta letter UU 𑒆 Tirhuta vowel sign UU  𑒴 ū /u:/
Tirhuta letter vocalic R 𑒇 Tirhuta vowel sign vocalic R  𑒵 /r̩/
Tirhuta letter vocalic RR 𑒈 Tirhuta vowel sign vocalic RR  𑒶 /r̩ː/
Tirhuta letter vocalic L 𑒉 Tirhuta vowel sign vocalic L  𑒷 /l̩/
Tirhuta letter vocalic LL 𑒊 Tirhuta vowel sign vocalic LL  𑒸 /l̩ː/
Tirhuta letter Е 𑒋 Tirhuta vowel sign ЕЕ  𑒹 ē /е:/
Tirhuta vowel sign Е  𑒺 e /е/
Tirhuta letter АІ 𑒌 Tirhuta vowel sign АІ  𑒻 аі /аі/
Tirhuta letter О 𑒍 Tirhuta vowel sign ОО  𑒼 ō /о:/
Tirhuta vowel sign О  𑒽 о /о/
Tirhuta letter AU 𑒎 Tirhuta vowel sign АU  𑒾 аu /аu/

Other signs[edit]

Other dependent signs
Image Text Name Notes
Tirhuta sign candrabindu  𑒿 candrabindu marks the nasalization of a vowel
Tirhuta sign anusvara  𑓀 anusvara marks nasalization
Tirhuta sign visarga  𑓁 visarga marks the sound [h], which is an allophone of [r] and [s] in pausa (at the end of an utterance)
Tirhuta sign virama  𑓂 virama used to suppress the inherent vowel
Tirhuta sign nukta  𑓃 nukta used to create new consonant signs
Tirhuta sign avagraha 𑓄 avagraha used to indicate prodelision of an [a]
Tirhuta sign gvang 𑓅 gvang used to mark nasalization


Tirhuta script uses its own signs for the positional decimal numeral system.

Image Tirhuta numeral 0 Tirhuta numeral 1 Tirhuta numeral 2 Tirhuta numeral 3 Tirhuta numeral 4 Tirhuta numeral 5 Tirhuta numeral 6 Tirhuta numeral 7 Tirhuta numeral 8 Tirhuta numeral 9
Text 𑓐 𑓑 𑓒 𑓓 𑓔 𑓕 𑓖 𑓗 𑓘 𑓙
Digit 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Image gallery[edit]

The first two images shown below are samples illustrating the history of Tirhuta, the first is the sacred sign of Ganesha, called āñjī, used for millennia by students before beginning Tirhuta studies. Displayed further below are images of tables comparing the Tirhuta and Devanagari scripts.


Tirhuta script was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2014 with the release of version 7.0.

The Unicode block for Tirhuta is U+11480–U+114DF:

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1148x 𑒀 𑒁 𑒂 𑒃 𑒄 𑒅 𑒆 𑒇 𑒈 𑒉 𑒊 𑒋 𑒌 𑒍 𑒎 𑒏
U+1149x 𑒐 𑒑 𑒒 𑒓 𑒔 𑒕 𑒖 𑒗 𑒘 𑒙 𑒚 𑒛 𑒜 𑒝 𑒞 𑒟
U+114Ax 𑒠 𑒡 𑒢 𑒣 𑒤 𑒥 𑒦 𑒧 𑒨 𑒩 𑒪 𑒫 𑒬 𑒭 𑒮 𑒯
U+114Bx 𑒰 𑒱 𑒲 𑒳 𑒴 𑒵 𑒶 𑒷 𑒸 𑒹 𑒺 𑒻 𑒼 𑒽 𑒾 𑒿
U+114Cx 𑓀 𑓁 𑓂 𑓃 𑓄 𑓅 𑓆 𑓇
U+114Dx 𑓐 𑓑 𑓒 𑓓 𑓔 𑓕 𑓖 𑓗 𑓘 𑓙
1.^ As of Unicode version 11.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points


  1. ^ a b Pandey, Anshuman (5 May 2011). "N4035: Proposal to Encode the Tirhuta Script in ISO/IEC 10646" (PDF). Working Group Document, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 December 2016. 

External links[edit]

  1. free Download Tirhuta (Maithili) Fonts
  2. Tirhuta Lipi: Native Script of Maithili
  3. Mithila Online
  4. Learn Mithilakshara by Gajendra Thakur