Writing The Devanagari Script


Now that we have learnt the Devanagari script, we now explore how to write it effectively as well.

So far, we have treated the characters mostly as individual glyphs, rather than building blocks. Thus, we might be tempted to write each and every character as they appear, making the text blocky and choppy. This is horribly inefficient.

So, how do people write the Devanagari script?


Unlike the Japanese script, the order of strokes (which build up your character) does not matter. However, in order to increase the efficiency of writing, we follow the following general guidelines:

  1. Write the character without the horizontal line above it
  2. Attach any diacritics (other than dots) after you are done writing that particular character (don’t draw the horizontal line yet)
  3. Move on to the next character and repeat steps 1 and 2 until you form the word
  4. Now, add the horizontal line above the word
  5. Finally, jot down the remaining dots or strokes (anything you’ve missed) after you are done

Note | 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 are needed. Some people may omit the horizontal line for speed, as done by many pharmacists. I have attached an animated GIF below to show you how I 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 (most people draw it left to right). Also, you may wish not to emulate my handwriting as it is not the prettiest. 😉

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

Animation of writing a nepali sentence


  1. ma
  2. l(a)
  3. Diacritic of ā
  4. ī 
  5. Horizontal line
  6. k(a)
  7. Diacritic of u
  8. Repeated 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 

Note | In some words, a is not pronounced due to schwa deletion.


When writing on paper, especially lined paper, it is better when we use the top line as a horizontal line guide. In other words, you write the letters sticking from the top rather than have them floating from the bottom.

A 'don't' in Devanagari handwriting: writing on, rather than under the line of the paper



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
5. आँपको फूल कति मसिनो, हाम्रो दु:ख कति ठुलो