Numerals and punctuation

In this lesson, we will learn how to write numbers and various punctuation marks in Devanagari.


The numerals that we use in English originate in India. As a result, the numerals we use in Devanagari are quite similar to the ones we use in English:

  • 0

  • 1

  • 2

  • 3

  • 4

  • 5

  • 6

  • 7

  • 8

  • 9

And they are used just like English numerals:

  • १९४७

  • २०२१


Modern Sanskrit texts make use of various English punctuation marks, including exclamation points (!), commas (,), and quotation marks (“”).

But traditionally, Devanagari uses only a small set of punctuation marks. You can see all of them below:

  • '

The first is called the daṇḍa (“stick”), which marks the end of a sentence or the middle point of a verse:

  • रामो गच्छति।
    rāmo gacchati.
    Rama goes.

The second is sometimes called a double daṇḍa, and it marks the end of a paragraph or verse:

  • रामो लङ्कां गच्छति। रामो रावणं हन्ति॥
    rāmo laṅkāṃ gacchati. rāmo rāvaṇaṃ hanti.
    Rama goes to Lanka. Rama kills Ravana.

The last is called the avagraha, and it is sometimes used to show that a vowel was removed due to a sound change rule:

  • श्वेतः अश्वः → श्वेतो ऽश्वः
    śvetaḥ aśvaḥ → śveto 'śvaḥ
    white horse

  • ते अश्वाः → ते ऽश्वाः
    te aśvāḥ → te 'śvāḥ
    They are horses.

An avagraha may even be repeated if the vowel removed was long:

  • सा आस्ते → सा ऽऽस्ते
    sā āste → sā ''ste
    She sits.