Tirhuta, Mithilakshar


Languages Maithili, Sanskrit
Time period
c. 12thmid 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 Sahodara Temple of Narkatiyagunj, Bihar, dated 950 CE [1] The script has a rich history spanning a thousand years, believed to be originated in the 10th century CE, 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

Before 14th CE Tirhuta was exclusively used to write Sanskrit, later Maithili was written in this script. 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

Consonant signs

Sign Transcription
𑒏 ka /ka/
𑒐 kha /kʰа/
𑒑 ga /gа/
𑒒 gha /gʱа/
𑒓 ṅa /ŋа/
𑒔 ca /t͡ʃa/
𑒕 cha /t͡ʃʰa/
𑒖 ja /d͡ʒa/
𑒗 jha /d͡ʒʱa/
𑒘 ña /ɲa/
𑒙 ṭa /ʈa/
𑒚 ṭha /ʈʰa/
𑒛 ḍa /ɖa/
𑒜 ḍha /ɖʱa/
𑒝 ṇa /ɳa/
𑒞 ta /t̪a/
𑒟 tha /t̪ʰa/
𑒠 da /d̪a/
𑒡 dha /d̪ʱa/
𑒢 na /na/
𑒣 pa /pa/
𑒤 pha /pʰa/
𑒥 ba /ba/
𑒦 bha /bʱa/
𑒧 ma /ma/
𑒨 ya /ja/
𑒩 ra /ra/
𑒪 la /la/
𑒫 va /ʋa/
𑒬 śa /ʃa/
𑒭 ṣa /ʂa/
𑒮 sa /sa/
𑒯 ha /ɦa/


Independent Dependent Transcription
𑒁 a /а/
𑒂  𑒰 ā /а:/
𑒃  𑒱 і /і/
𑒄  𑒲 ī /і:/
𑒅  𑒳 u /u/
𑒆  𑒴 ū /u:/
𑒇  𑒵 /r̩/
𑒈  𑒶 /r̩ː/
𑒉  𑒷 /l̩/
𑒊  𑒸 /l̩ː/
𑒋  𑒹 ē /е:/
 𑒺 e /е/
𑒌  𑒻 аі /аі/
𑒍  𑒼 ō /о:/
 𑒽 о /о/
𑒎  𑒾 аu /аu/

Other signs

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


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

Text 𑓐 𑓑 𑓒 𑓓 𑓔 𑓕 𑓖 𑓗 𑓘 𑓙
Digit 0123456789

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+11480U+114DF:

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