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The Alphabet of ĐevaNāgarī is called Varṇamālā (वर्णमाला). If you ask an Indian to recite alphabet of any Indian script, most likely he will fumble! You may like to use this technique to memorize the Varṇamālā. How about promoting it!

How to Memorize the Varṇamālā

Generally most of us (Indians) remember certain fragments of the Varṇamālā. Lots of us can recite most of the vowels, as these are in the beginning of the Varṇamālā, and also because these vowels are in pairs.

अ आ - इ ई - उ ऊ - ए ऐ - ओ औ - (ऋ) [ ऍ ऑ]

The rest of the Varṇamālā is known as 'ka kha ga gha' (क ख ग, घ).† So we also remember first consonant sequence.

If we can recall the leading (first) Akṣhar (alphabet) of a sequence, we can recite the rest of the sequence! First five sequences consist of five Akṣhar/s each.

क, ख, ग, घ, ङ,
च, छ, ज, झ, ञ,
ट, ठ, ड, ढ, ण,
त, थ, द, ध, न,
प, फ, ब, भ, म

य, र, ल, व
श, ष, स, ह

We need to think of the Varṇamālā as a list of sequences. We need to repeat these leading consonants of all these sequences; again and again.

Following are the leading Akṣhars of all the sequences.

अकचटतपयश

As we easily recall the vowels ('a' sequence) and the first sequence of sparsh consonants ('ka' sequence), we should memorize the rest of the leading Akṣhar/s. After dropping the first two, we are left with six Akṣhar/s. We can form three words of two consonants each to further simplify the mnemonic (स्मृति सहायक)!

  चट तप यश

So, memorize these three words!

Most of us tend to forget the Varṇamālā (वर्णमाला) after passing out of school. If you find it helpful, ask every-one (who speak an Indian language) to visit this page. I have personally explained it to many people and nobody complained! This mnemonic is also helpful to those who use other Indic-scripts.


* do not pronounce this Nāgarī consonant as regular pronunciation of its english transliteration.


† Similarly Alphabet means alpha and beta; the first two Greek letters.

+ Vowel signs and conjuncts are not part of the basic Alphabet.

+ Akhilesh Gupta designed this mnemonic in 1991.




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