Writing The Devanagari Script


Many younger people in Japan find it difficult to write their complex Kanji script due to the advent of digitalisation. Since there is no incentive in remembering how to write them, many people just opt reading the letter. 

Of course, if you are only interested in reading Nepali and not writing it, there is no incentive to learn how to write the script! However, this does not mean you should not learn how to write it down, because you many come across many situations which obligates you to write the script down. We may succeed in writing the word down, but it will usually be inconvenient. 

This is because we have been seeing the script as glyphs, rather than building blocks. Thus, we might be tempted to write each and every letter as they appear, making the text blocky and choppy. This is horribly inefficient.

So, how do people write the Devanagari script?


The primary thing to understand here is that, unlike the Japanese or the Chinese script, the order of strokes (which build up your character) does not matter. However, in order to increase the efficiency of writing, we employ the following guidelines:

  • Write the characters without the horizontal line above it
  • Attach any diacritics (other than dots) after you are done writing that particular character (don’t make the horizontal line yet)
  • After you are done, carefully make the horizontal line above the word
  • Finally, jot down the remaining dots or strokes after you are done

Caveats: Of course, I’d hate to be dogmatic about your writing style. Since everyone writes differently, you can try and explore your own writing style. For example, I know people who write their diacritics as they come. Some people may omit the horizontal line for speed, as seen in pharmacies. I have attached an animated GIF below to show you how I would write the sentence below. Note that this is my writing style and serves as a reference only. For example, I draw my horizontal lines from right to left, since I am a left handed person. Also, you may wish not to emulate my handwriting as it is not exactly the most calligraphic. 

Sentence: I like dogs.
Nepali: मलाई कुकुर मनपर्छ (ma-lāī kukur manparcha)


  1. ma
  2. l(a)
  3. Diacritic of ā
  4. ī 
  5. Horizontal line
  6. k(a)
  7. Diacritic of u
  8. Repeat steps 6-7
  9. r(a)
  10. Horizontal line
  11. ma
  12. n(a)
  13. pa
  14. cha
  15. r as part of the ligature rch-a
  16. Horizontal line
  17. Full stop 


When using lined paper, it is better if we use the line itself as the horizontal line guide. In other words, you write the letters on the top rather than the bottom.



1. घरमा पानी छ
2. यो मन त मेरो नेपाली हो 
3. किकि, तिमीले मलाई माया गर्छौ ? 
4. संसारको काम गर्ने कालुको बाङ्गो बञ्चरोले बाँस काट्यो 

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