|9th century CE – present|
|Languages||Tulu, Kannada, Malayalam, and Sanskrit|
| Malayalam script |
|The Brahmi script and its descendants|
Tigalari (Tigaḷāri lipi, tulu lipi),also known as Tulu script, is a Southern Brahmic script which was used to write Tulu, Kannada, and Sanskrit languages. It was primarily used for writing Vedic texts in Sanskrit. It evolved from the Grantha script. It is called as Tigalari lipi in Kannada-speaking regions (Malnad region) and Tulu speakers call it as Tulu lipi. It bears high similarity and relationship to its sister script Malayalam, which also evolved from the Grantha script.
The oldest record of the usage of this script found in a stone inscription at the Sri Veeranarayana temple in Kulashekara here is in complete Tigalari/Tulu script and Tulu language and belongs to the 1159 A.D.The various inscriptions of Tulu from the 15th century are in the Tigalari script. Two Tulu epics named Sri Bhagavato and Kaveri from the 17th century were also written in the same script. It was also used by Tulu-speaking Brahmins like Shivalli Brahmins and Kannada speaking Havyaka Brahmins and Kota Brahmins to write Vedic mantras and other Sanskrit religious texts. However, there has been a renewed interest among Tulu speakers to revive the script as it was formerly used in the Tulu-speaking region. The Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy, a cultural wing of the Government of Karnataka, has introduced Tuḷu language (written in Kannada script) and Tigalari script in schools across the Mangalore and Udupi districts. The academy provides instructional manuals to learn this script and conducts workshops to teach it.
|Name of the script||Prevalent in||References to their roots|
|Arya Ezhuttu/Grantha Malayalam||Kerala, Parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu||Malayalam Speakers, Manipravala, Tamil Grantha|
|Western Grantha/Tulu-Malayalam||Few academic publications||19th Century Western Scholars|
|Tigalari||Malenadu & Karavali (coastal) regions of Karnataka||Kannada speakers, Havyaka Brahmins, National Manuscript Mission Catalogues|
|Tulu Lipi/Tulu Grantha Lipi||Coastal Karnataka, Tulu Nadu||Tulu speakers, A C Burnell|
The name by which this script is referred to is closely tied with its regional, linguistic or historical roots. It would not be wrong to assign all the names mentioned above to this script.
Arya Ezhuttu or the more recently coined term: Grantha Malayalam is used to refer to this script in Kerala. Arya Ezhuttu covers the spectrum between the older script (that is Tigalari) until it was standardised by the lead types for Malayalam script (old style) in Kerala.
‘Tigalari’ is used to this day by the Havyaka Brahmins of the Malanadu region. Tigalari is also the term that is commonly used to refer to this script in most manuscript catalogues and in several academic publications today. Prof. Gunda Jois has studied this script closely for over four decades now. According to his findings that were based on evidences found in stone inscriptions, palm leaf manuscripts and early research work done by western scholars like Prof. B L Rice, he finds the only name used for this script historically has been ‘Tigalari’.
This script is commonly known as the Tulu script or Tulu Grantha script in the coastal regions of Karnataka. There are several recent publications and instructional books for learning this script. It is also called the Tigalari script in—Elements of South Indian Palaeography by Rev. A C Burnell and a couple of other early publications of the Basel Mission press, Mangalore. Tulu Ramayana manuscript found in the Dharmasthala archives refers to this script as 'Tigalari Lipi'.
The script is used all over Canara and Western Hilly regions of Karnataka. Many manuscripts are also found North Canara, Udupi, South Canara, Shimoga, Chikkamagaluru and Kasaragod district of Kerala. There are innumerable manuscripts found in this region. The major language of manuscripts is Sanskrit, mainly the works of Veda, Jyotisha and other Sanskrit epics.
Thousands of manuscripts have been found in this script such as Vedas, Upanishads, Jyotisha, Dharmashastra, Purana and many more. Most works are in Sanskrit. However, some Kannada manuscripts are also found such as Gokarna Mahatmyam etc. The popular 16th-century work Kaushika Ramayana written in Old Kannada language by Battaleshwara of Yana, Uttara Kannada is found in this script. Mahabharato of 15th century written in this script in Tulu language is also found. But earlier to this several 12th-13th century Sanskrit manuscripts of Madhvacharya are also found. Honnavar in Uttara Kannada District is known for its Samaveda manuscripts. Other manuscripts like Devi Mahatmyam , from the 15th century and two epic poems written in the 17th century, namely Sri Bhagavato and Kaveri have also been found in Tulu language.
Today the usage of the script has decreased. It is still used in parts of Kanara region and traditional maṭha s of undivided Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada Districts.
The National Mission for Manuscripts has conducted several workshops on Tigalari script. Dharmasthala and the Ashta Mathas of Udupi have done significant work in preserving the script. Several studies and research work has been done on Tigalari script. Keladi houses over 400 manuscripts in Tigalari script.
There is a gaining support and interest by Tuluvas in revival of the script. Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy is constantly conducting meetings with experts for standardisation of Tulu script.There is also huge support from Local MLAs for popularising the Tulu script.
There are many places in Tulu Nadu region where sign boards are being installed in Tulu script.
Apart from these they are also found in Dharmasthala, Ramachandrapura Matha of Hosanagar, Shimoga, Sonda Swarnavalli Matha of Sirsi and the Ashta Mathas of Udupi.
Palm-leaf manuscript of Sanskrit written in Tigalari: Vidyamadhaviyam-Jyotisha Shastram
A chart showing a complete list of consonant and vowel combinations used in the Tigalari script.
Tigalari and Malayalam are both descended from Grantha script, and resemble each other both in their individual letters and in using consonant conjuncts less than other Indic scripts. It is assumed that a single script around 9th-10th century called Western Grantha, evolved from Grantha script and later divided into two scripts.
This table compares the consonants ka, kha, ga, gha, ṅa with other Southern Indic scripts such as Grantha, Tigalari, Malayalam, Kannada and Sinhala.
Proposals of Tigalari (Tulu) have been submitted to Unicode in 2011 by Michael Everson As of January 2022 [update] , the most recent proposal is L2/22-034 by Dr. Akash Raj Jain of Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy.and in 2017 by Vaishnavi Murthy K. Y. and Vinodh Rajan. Srinidhi A and Sridatta A also made comments on L2/16-241, the previous version of L2/17-378.
Currently the proposal is to make 2 different scripts, one matching the archaic script as closely as possible for publishing old documents and manuscripts for which research is still going on, another is a simplified newly created version with some influence from Malayalam and Kannada scripts for daily use of Tulu for which the work is complete.This proposal is supported by the Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy too.
Malayalam is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry by the Malayali people. It is one of 22 scheduled languages of India. Malayalam was designated a "Classical Language of India" in 2013. Malayalam has official language status in Kerala and Puducherry (Mahé), and is also the primary spoken language of Lakshadweep and is spoken by 34 million people in India. Malayalam is also spoken by linguistic minorities in the neighbouring states; with a significant number of speakers in the Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts of Karnataka, and Kanyakumari and Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. It is also spoken by the Malayali Diaspora worldwide, especially in the Persian Gulf countries, due to the large populations of Malayali expatriates there. They are a significant population in each city in India including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune etc. Malayalam is closely related to the Tamil language.
The Kannada script is an abugida of the Brahmic family, used to write Kannada, one of the Dravidian languages of South India especially in the state of Karnataka. It is one of the official scripts of the Indian Republic. Kannada script is also widely used for writing Sanskrit texts in Karnataka. Several minor languages, such as Tulu, Konkani, Kodava, Sanketi and Beary, also use alphabets based on the Kannada script. The Kannada and Telugu scripts share very high mutual intellegibility with each other, and are often considered to be regional variants of single script. Other scripts similar to Kannada script are Sinhala script, and Old Peguan script (used in Burma).
The Brahmic scripts, also known as Indic scripts, are a family of abugida writing systems. They are used throughout the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia. They are descended from the Brahmi script of ancient India and are used by various languages in several language families in South, East and Southeast Asia: Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, Mongolic, Austroasiatic, Austronesian, and Tai. They were also the source of the dictionary order (gojūon) of Japanese kana.
Malayalam script is a Brahmic script used commonly to write Malayalam, which is the principal language of Kerala, India, spoken by 45 million people in the world. It is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry by the Malayali people. It is one of the official scripts of the Indian Republic. Malayalam script is also widely used for writing Sanskrit texts in Kerala.
Tulu is a Dravidian language whose speakers are concentrated in Dakshina Kannada and in the southern part of Udupi of Karnataka in south-western India and also in the northern parts of the Kasaragod district of Kerala. The native speakers of Tulu are referred to as Tuluva or Tulu people and the geographical area is unofficially called Tulu Nadu.
The Grantha script was a classical South-Indian script, found particularly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Originating from the Pallava script, the Grantha script is related to Tamil and Vatteluttu scripts. The modern Malayalam script of Kerala is a direct descendant of the Grantha script. The Southeast Asian and Indonesian scripts such as Thai and Javanese respectively, as well as South Asian Tigalari and Sinhala scripts, are derived or closely related to Grantha through the early Pallava script. The Pallava script or Pallava Grantha, emerged in the 4th century CE and was used until the 7th century CE, in India. This early Grantha script was used to write Sanskrit texts, inscriptions on copper plates and stones of Hindu temples and monasteries. It was also used for classical Manipravalam – a language that is a blend of Sanskrit and Tamil. From it evolved Middle Grantha by the 7th century, and Transitional Grantha by about the 8th century, which remained in use until about the 14th century. Modern Grantha has been in use since the 14th century and into the modern era, to write classical texts in Sanskrit and Dravidian languages. It is also used to chant hymns and in traditional Vedic schools.
Kanara or Canara, also known as Karavali is the historically significant stretch of land situated by the southwestern coast of India, alongside the Arabian Sea in the present-day Indian state of Karnataka. The subregion comprises three civil districts, namely: Uttara Kannada, Udupi, and Dakshina Kannada. Kassergode was included prior to the States Reorganisation Act.
Dakshina Kannada district is located in the state of Karnataka in India, with its headquarters in the coastal city of Mangalore. It is part of the larger Tulu Nadu region. The district covers an area nestled in between the Western Ghats to its east and the Arabian Sea to its west. Dakshina Kannada receives abundant rainfall during the Indian monsoon. It is bordered by Udupi district to the north, Chikmagalur district to the northeast, Hassan district to the east, Kodagu to the southeast and Kasaragod district of Kerala to the south. According to the 2011 census of India, Dakshina Kannada district had a population of 2,083,625. It is the only district in Karnataka state to have all modes of transport like road, rail, water and air due to the presence of a major hub, Mangalore. This financial district is also known as the Cradle of Indian banking.
Tulunad or Tulu Nadu, also called Bermere sristi or Parashurama Srishti, is a region and a proposed state on the southwestern coast of India. The Tulu people, known as 'Tuluva', speakers of Tulu, a Dravidian language, are the preponderant ethnic group of this region. South Canara, an erstwhile district and a historical area, encompassing the undivided territory of the contemporary Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka State and Kasaragod district of Kerala state forms the cultural area of the Tuluver.
South Canara was a district of the Madras Presidency of British India, located at . It comprised the towns of Kassergode and Udipi and adjacent villages, with the administration at Mangalore city. South Canara was one of the most heterogeneous areas of Madras Presidency, with Tulu, Malayalam, Kannada, Konkani, Marathi, Urdu, and Beary languages being spoken side by side. It was succeeded by the Tulu-speaking areas of Dakshina Kannada district, the Malayalam-speaking area of Kasaragod district and the Amindivi islands sub-division of the Laccadives, in the year 1956.
The Tulu people or Tuluvas are an ethno-linguistic and ethno-cultural group from Southern India. They are native speakers of the Tulu language and the region they traditionally inhabit is known as Tulu Nadu. This region comprises the districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in Karnataka and part of Kasaragod district in Kerala, with Mangalore, Karnataka being the commercial hub. The Census report of 2011 reported a population of 1,846,427 native Tulu speakers living in India.
Udupi district is an administrative subdivision in the Karnataka state of India, with the district headquarters in the city of Udupi. It is situated in the Canara old north malabar coastal region, there are seven taluks, 233 villages and 21 towns in Udupi district. The three northern tehsils of Udupi, Kundapur and Karkala, were partitioned from Dakshina Kannada district to form Udupi district on 25 August 1997. Moodabidri was officially declared as new tehsil (taluk), separated from Karkala with effect from 11 January 2018.
Manjeshwar Govinda Pai, also known as Rastrakavi Govinda Pai, was a Kannada poet. He was awarded the first Rashtrakavi title by the Madras Government. Rashtrakavi M. Govinda Pai was the one who put Manjeshwara(now in Kerala) on the literary map of India.
Bannanje Govindacharya was an Indian philosopher and Sanskrit scholar versed in Veda Bhashya, Upanishad Bhashya, Mahabharata, Puranas and Ramayana. He wrote Bhashyas (commentaries) on Veda Suktas, Upanishads, ShataRudriya, Brahma Sutra Bhashya, Gita Bhashya and was an orator. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2009.
Devadiga also known as Moily, Sherigar is a Hindu caste. Devadigas were traditionally temple servants and musicians in Hindu temples. Devadigas are originally from the land stretching between Karwar in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala in west-coast of India up to the Chandragiri River and Many People live in Shivamogga and Chikmagalur too. Devadigas are distinct from the Ambalavasi found elsewhere. It is believed that their two divisions, namely Kannada Devadiga (Moily) and Tulu Devadiga (Moily); were endogamous in the past.
Tulu Nadu State movement is aimed at increasing Tulu Nadu's influence and political power through the formation of separate Tulu Nadu state from Karnataka and Kerala. Tulu Nadu is a region on the south-western coast of India. It consists of the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka and Kasargod district up to the Chandragiri river in Kerala. The Chandragiri River has traditionally been considered a boundary between Tulu Nadu and Kerala from the fourth century AD onwards. The first call for a separate Tulu Nadu state was made just after the Quit India Movement in 1942 by Srinivas Updhyaya Paniyadi, a banker and a press owner from Udupi. Mangalore is the largest and the chief city of Tulu Nadu. Tulu activists have been demanding a separate Tulu Nadu state since the late 2000s, considering language and culture as the basis for their demand.
Karnataka is a state in the southern part of India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act. Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the north-west, Maharashtra to the north, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the south-east, and Kerala to the south-west. The state covers an area of 74,122 sq mi (191,976 km2), or 5.83% of the total geographical area of India. It comprises 30 districts. Kannada is the official language of Karnataka and as per the 2011 census is the mother tongue of 66.5% of the population. Various ethnic groups with origins in other parts of India have unique customs and use languages at home other than Kannada, adding to the cultural diversity of the state. Significant linguistic minorities in the state in 2011 included speakers of Urdu (10.8%), Telugu (5.8%), Tamil (3.5%), Marathi (3.4%), Hindi (3.2%), Tulu (2.6%), Konkani (1.3%) and Malayalam (1.3%).
Nandināgarī is a Brahmic script derived from the Nāgarī script which appeared in the 7th century AD. This script and its variants were used in the central Deccan region and south India, and an abundance of Sanskrit manuscripts in Nandināgarī have been discovered but remain untransliterated. Some of the discovered manuscripts of Madhvacharya of the Dvaita Vedanta school of Hinduism are in Nandināgarī script.
Canarese Konkani are a set of dialects spoken by minority Konkani people of the Canara sub-region of Karnataka, and also in Kassergode of Kerala that was part of South Canara. Kanarese script is the primary mode of writing used in Canarese Konkani, as recognised by the Konkani Academy.
The Panchagrama Brahmins are a Brahmin community that follow the Smartha Sampradaya. They belong to the Indian state of Karnataka, and reside primarily in the districts of Udupi, Shimoga and Chikmaglur, Bengaluru and other cities.