Sanskrit Letters

Sanskrit is written in the देवनागरी (Devanāgarī) script.  In Sanskrit, Letters are known as वर्णाः (varṇāḥ). These are the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. They are 46 in number. In Sanskrit, there are no capital or small letters.

There are two main types of letters in Sanskrit- the स्वराः  (Svarāḥ) which are the 13 vowels and the व्यञ्जनानि (Vyañjanāni) which are the 33 consonants.

A syllable in Sanskrit is the mixture of one vowel and one or more consonants. Also, there are some varṇās which come after a vowel and cannot be pronounced by themselves. These are known as the अयोगवाहाः (ayogavāhāḥ).

Sanskrit Letters

Topics in the list below have been arranged according to the sequence that they need to be learnt. Learners have to start with the first topic i.e. Maheshwari Sutrani and then Alphabet and so and so forth.

Maheshwari Sutrani

Maheshwari Sutrani - माहेश्वरी-सूत्राणि

The Māheśvarī-Sūtrāṇi are fourteen sounds which contain all the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet.
Maheshwari Sutras (Māheśvarī-Sūtrāṇi), also known as the Shiva Sutras are considered to be the foundation of Sanskrit.

Sanskrit Letters

Alphabet - वर्णमाला

The वर्णमाला (Varṇamālā) contains all the letters of Sanskrit alphabet in a systematic way. It is quite similar to the Māheśvarī-Sūtrāṇi.
Varṇamālā is divided into two parts – स्वराः (Svarāḥ) / Vowels and व्यञ्जनानि (Vyañjanāni) / Consonants.

Sanskrit Vowels

Vowels - स्वराः

स्वराः (Svarāḥ), are vowels of the Sanskrit alphabet. They are also known as अच् (Ac), as in the Māheśvarī-Sūtrāṇi, the vowels are given from अ (A) to च् (C). 
Svaras in Sanskrit are considered as Svaras according to how long they retain their sound when spoken.


Consonants - व्यञ्जनानि

व्यञ्जनानि (Vyañjanāni) are the consonants of Sanskrit. They are 33 in number.
Consonants, when not mixed with any vowel, are hard to pronounce. Hence, they are mixed with a vowel to create a syllable. Consonants can also be joined with other consonants to create conjunct consonants.


Ayogavaha - अयोगवाहाः

अयोगवाहाः (ayogavāhāḥ) are Varnas in Sanskrit which always come after vowels. They cannot be pronounced by themselves. There are two such letters- विसर्गः (Visargaḥ) (ः) and अनुस्वारः (Anusvāraḥ) (ं).


Varna Viccheda and Varna Samyoga - वर्णविच्छेदः वर्णसंयोगः च

वर्णविच्छेदः (varṇavicchedaḥ):
This is the separation of letters (वर्णाः) of a certain word (शब्दः)
वर्णसंयोगः (varṇasaṃyogaḥ):
This is the combination of different letters (वर्णाः) to form a word (शब्दः).