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

Mahabalipuram temple

Name of the Temple

  • Mahābalipuram temple


  • Located 60 km south of Chennai, this town is enriched with a number of heritage monuments.
How to reach there?
  • By Air: The nearest airport is the Chennai International airport, which is located about 60 km away from Mahābalipuram. From the airport take the East-Coast-Road south to reach Mahābalipuram.
  • By Train : The nearest railway station is Cheṅgalpaṭṭu (29 km). From there take the State Highway 58 west to Mahābalipuram.
  • By Road : Mahābalipuram is well connected through the East-Coast-Road in Chennai.

Rulers/builders and Time Period

  • Mahābalipuram temples whose architecture was inspired by the Pallava Art were built during the period 830 - 1100 AD.
  • Five rathhas were constructed during the dynasty of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narsimhavarman I.


  • The shrine temple has three shrines. The main shrine and the smaller second is dedicated to Lord Śhiva and the third small shrine is dedicated to Lord Viṣhṇu. 
  • Sthhalaśhayana Perumal Temple is another important Mahābalipuram temple, which is counted amongst one of the 108 Divya Dhesams. It is a small temple, adorned with two major shrines of Lord Sthalaśhayana Perumāḷ and Nilamaṅgai Thayār.
  • The temple also has another separate shrine of Lord Narasimha that reflects the Pallava style of architecture.

Architecture Style

  • There are total 11 excavated temples in Mahābalipuram, called Manḍapas, two open air bas-reliefs, out of which one is incomplete. But the most famous Mahābalipuram temple is a rock cut temple, it is also known as ‘Rathha’. The Pancha Rathhas is one of the best examples of monolith Indian rock cut architecture, dates back to the late 7th century. 
  • The Shore temple is so named because of its unique location as it overlooks Bay of Bengal. This temple is an architectural masterpiece, made of granite blocks during 8th century AD. It is a five-storey temple with pyramidal structure of 60 feet height. 
  • Arjuna's Penance is one of the largest bas reliefs in the world, carved during mid 7th century. Standing at the height of 43 feet this massive structure is carved on the two adjoining monolithic rocks. The total length of Arjuna's Penance is around 96 feet. 

Special Reference to Fine Arts

  • Coastal area studded with small hills ideal for the creation of cave temples, stone carvings, etc. The Pallavas created many marvelous monuments like the sculptural panels, caves, monolithic rathhas and temples. These monuments carved out of solid rock, though ravaged by the sea and wind, still bear testimony to the magnificent heritage of Dravidian architecture. 
  • The Mahābalipuram art can be divided into four categories which are open air bas-relief, structured temples, man-made caves and rathas. The most important attraction in Mahābalipuram are the famous Arjuna's Penance, the Krishna Manḍapa and the beautiful Shore Temple. Sixteen man-made caves in different stages of completion are also scattered throughout the area.
  • The Shore Temple, one of the oldest in South India, stands on the sea shore with its paved forecourts. Sculpture Museum is located south of the bus stand in East Raja Street and has about 3000 exquisite sculptures made by local artisans in wood, metal, brass and even cement. The museum is associated with the College of Traditional art and Architecture which has produced many fine sculptures.

Other Special Features

  • The Pallavas were instrumental in the transition from rock-cut architecture to stone temples. The earliest examples of Pallava constructions are rock-cut temples dating from 610–690 CE and structural temples between 690–900 CE.
  • A number of rock-cut cave temples bear the inscription of the Pallava king, Mahendhravarman I and his successors.

Any Other Remarks

  • Mahābalipuram has been categorized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since most of the monuments were built between the 7th and 9th centuries.
  • The modern city of Mahābalipuram was established by the British in 1827.
  • Pongal is the most revered and awaited festival of the Tamils. Pongal is celebrated in mid-January every year. The festival is marked by joy and festivities at Mahābalipuram.
  • Māsimagam and Brahmothsavam - These Sthalaśhayana Perumāḷ temple festivals are renowned and are in the month of March.

Special Reference to Performing Arts:

  • Thirumaṅgai Āzhvār and Bhūthathāzhvār have composed beautiful Pāsurams on Lord Sthalaśhayana Perumāḷ and his consort Nilamaṅgai Thāyār. They are part of the compositions in Nālāyira Dhivya Prabandham.
  • Mahābalipuram Dance Festival is an event where artists from all over the country accumulate to perform. It is celebrated in the month of January & February every year. The Shore Temple figures as the location of this festival and divine music from the musical instruments mixes with the natural poetic music of the wind and the sea.


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