Pronunciation and Phonetics

Learning proper pronunciation can be done without much knowledge of phonetics, actually. A basic knowledge, however, helps to make pronunciation clearer and thus facilitates the process of learning how to speak a foreign language properly.

eAmbalam introduces a phonetic chart which is based on Dhevanagari script. The sounds of vowels and consonants and other speech sounds in Sanskrit and the languages which have completely or mostly borrowed from it can be covered with the help of the chart. A few other sounds common to some languages in this group and outside are also put in. Unique sounds of some languages are specified too.

Diacritical marks are used to aid perfect pronunciation. World over, these marks have been created and propagated by scholars to make understanding of the differences in speech sounds in different languages better. Team eAmbalam also has created a phonetic chart which helps even first timers to pronounce words accurately.

Our Phonetic chart is unique, comprehensive, learner friendly and is divided into four columns wherein:
  • In the first column, the letter is written with the associated diacritical mark.
  • In the second column, an example is given in Dhevanagari language containing the letter.
  • In the third column, an example is given in English, which contains the sound closes to the letter or instructions in few cases, to facilitate better understanding.
  • In the fourth column, an audio button is placed with the help of which you can hear the actual pronunciation of the letter.
An open minded approach with the above introduction and guidelines will definitely enable the user to understand the speech sounds of any language and pronounce it like a native, which is eAmbalam’s aim in this exercise.

Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
A or a Aḍavu Arise
Ā or ā Ānanda Vast
I or i Indhira Sing
Ī or ī Īśha Meal
U or u U ṣhā Good
Ū or ū Ū rdhhva Boost
R or r Riṣh i Try
Ṛ or ṛ Ni ṛ uti Grr!
Lr or lr   Pronounce L and R together.
E or e Eka Ate
AI or ai Aikya Sight
O or o Ojas Robe
AU or au Audh ā rya Now
A M or am Śhiva m Drum
A HA or aha R ā ma ha Aha!
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English

Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
KA or ka Kavi Car
KHA or kha Khalu Mark -Him
GA or ga Gamana Gut
GHA or gha Ghata Ugh!
Ṅ A or ṅa Tura ṅ ga Ring
CHA or ca Chakra Chart
CHHA or cha Chhandas Branch
JA or ja Jagath Jug
JHA or jha Jhallari Fudge
NYA or nya Gnyana Knew
Ṭ A or ṭ Ṭ anka Top
ṬHA or ṭha Pāṭha Pothole
ḌA or da Ḍ amaruka Dog
Ḍ HA or ḍ ha Mūḍ ha Madhouse
Ṇ A or ṇ a Ga ṇ a Wander
THA or tha Thanu Health
THHA or thha Athha Theater
DHA or dha Dha śha This
DHHA or dhha Dhhana m Dha with an additional H sound
NA or na Namask ā raha Nut
PA or pa   Path ā ka Past
PHA or pha Phala m P with a H sound
BA or ba Bandhhu Ball
BHA or bha Bhadra Abhor
MA or ma Manas Money
YA or ya Yama Yummy
RA or ra Rajas Rub
LA or la Lath ā Lust
VA or WA, va /wa A śh va or A śhwa Water/Valour
ŚHA or śha Śhakthi Shutter
ṢHA or ṣ ha Ṣh a ṇ mukha Shunt
SA or sa Sarasvatī Sun
HA or ha Hari Hum
Ḷ A or ḷ a Ar āḷ a Bold
KṢHA or k ṣ ha Ak ṣh i Try to pronounce Ka, Sa & Ha – all at one time.
Extra Vowels in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada & Malayalam Scripts    
É or é Éṇi Angel
Ō or ō Ō m Ō M
ZHA Exclusive to Tamil & Malayalam Fold the tip of your tongue backwards and try to pronounce it with the aid of the audio button.
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English

Bruhadishwara temple

Name of the Temple

  • Bruhadīśhvara Temple


  • Tanjore District, Tamilnādu
How to reach there?
  • By Air : The nearest airport is situated at Thiruchirāpaḷḷi, 65 km from Thanjāvūr. From there take the National Highway 83 east to reach Bruhadhīśhwara temple in Thanjāvūr.
  • By Train : The nearest railway station is at Thanjāvūr, 3 km from Bruhadhīśhwara.
  • By Road : Thanjāvūr is well connected by road with all the major towns and cities in Thamizh Nāḍu through the State Highway 63 from Thanjāvūr to Vedhāraṇyam and 27 from Thanjāvūr to Perambalūr.

Rulers/builders and Time Period


  • The greatest of Chola emperors, Rājarāja-I (985 A.D - 1012 A.D) the son of Sundhara Chola (Parānthaka-II) and Vānavanmahādhevi built this magnificent temple named Bruhadīśhvaram at Thanjavur - the capital of Chola dynasty.
  • Epigraphically evidence indicates that Rājarāja-I started building this temple on his 19th year and completed on 275th day of his 25th year. It took just 6 years to complete this work on 1010 A.D
  • The temple is also known in the deity's name as Peruvudaiyārkovil (in Tamil language). In later period Marātha and Nāyaks rulers constructed various shrines and gopurams of the temple.
  • In later period when the Sanskrit language was more popular during the Marātha rule the temple was named in Sanskrit as Bruhadīśhvaram and the deity as Bruhadīśhvara.
  • Now-a-days it is called as Thanjai Periyakovil (Tanjore Big temple).


  • Lord Bruhadīśhvara

Architecture Style


  • The Keralānthakan gopuram is constructed on the same architectural concept of the Śhrīvimāna.
  • Firstly, the load is distributed on two huge granite walls and the walls are merged into single structure as it approaches the height.
  • Secondly, the Ball and Lock of the huge granites locks themselves with the neighboring rock, one can see the small projections evenly distributed on the base of the structure.
  • Thirdly, the huge base platform distributes the load to the ground with the minimum foundation depth. This gopuram is built by Rājarāja-I and depicts the mediaeval Chola architecture where the Rāja gopuram (the entrance gopuram) diminish in size and the Garbhagraham (the main deity's gopuram) is significant.
  • This temple is a typical example for the Indian sculpture. It has the tallest tower over the shrine. The height of the tower is 216 feet. The tomb is made of Bronze. The Lingam in the sanctum is 3.70m high. 
  • The huge bull (Nandhi) in the outer courtyard is monolithic 3.70m high, 6m long, and 2.50m wide which is the handiwork not to Chola but added by the Vijayanagar rulers.  It is the second largest in India, the first being the one at the Lepakshi temple in Āndhra Pradeśh.
  • The Dwārapālakas flanking the doorways are 5.50m in height.  The complex is flanked with various mandapams. 
  • There are three gateways with gopurams to enter the temple.  The basement is crowded with inscription telling the various grants and gifts offered to lord Bruhadīśhvara by innumerable kings, chieftains and nobles.  The establishment of the temple had 1000 persons, 400 of them were female dancers.

Special Reference to Fine Arts in the Temple


  • This is a five stage gopuram. In the front side of the gopuram one can see various forms of Śhiva - Rudhrathāndava pose (a fierce Śhiva in dancing form), Śhiva with Pārvathi, Bitchātanar (Śhiva as beggar).
  • In the rear side of the gopuram one can see Krishna Līlā, MahāVishnu in the first stage, Narasimha combating with Hiranyakaśhipu in one side and Hiranya Śhamkara on the other side. On the top stage Śhiva and Vishnu idols are seen.
  • The outer side of the exterior wall is divided into 2 storeys with niches filled with images of Śhaivite iconography. There are also Vaishnavite and Buddhist themes in sculptures.
  • One difference here is that even the sculptor’s name is engraved. While the outer wall is ornamented with stone images, the inner wall of the sanctum is covered with Chola murals. 
  • They were concealed by the superimposition of Vijayanagar Nāyak paintings.  It was only in 1930, the originals were brought to light by special chemical process.

Other Special Features


  • The Nandi within is elaborately worked and the Nāyak Mandapam is massive and striking. The Nandhi is 12 feet high, 19.5 feet long and 18.25 feet wide.
  • The Nandhi is a monolith weighing about 25 tons and the stone is said to have come from a bed of Gneiss at the foot of Pachaimalai near Perambalūr. Another version is that the stone was brought over from the bed of the River Narmadhā in the north.
  • There is a tradition that the Nandhi is growing in size with the progress of time. It was feared it might become too large for the Mandapam erected over it and a nail was driven into the back of it, and since, its size has remained stationery.
  • Two portrait statuesques on the front pillars of the Nandhi Mandapam are pointed out as those of Sevappanāyakan (the first Nāyak ruler) and of his son Achyutappa Nāyak.

Special Reference to Performing Arts


  • Dhwādaśha Jyothirlinga Sthothra is a beautiful prayer addressed to the 12 Jyothirlinga shrines of Lord Śhiva written by Guru Ādhi Shankaracharya. 
  • The Dīkshithar influence on Subbarāya Śhāstri can be seen in the latter's kritis like venkataśhaila vihāra (amīr kalyāni), inthanucu varnimpa (śhankarābharanam) and śhrī kāmākshi (vasanthā).
  • Muthuswāmi Dikshithar's father Rāmaswāmi Dikshithar had composed a varnam in the rāga śhrī ranjani which he had left unfinished with just one svara passage in the charanam.
  • Muthuswāmi Dīkshithar requested Śhyāma Śhāsthri to complete the caranam.Muthuswāmi Dīkshithar’s association with Śhyāma Śhāsthri was good.
  • Some of the Kruthis are composed by Muthuswāmi Dīkshithar about Tanjore Temple


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