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The Kharosthi script, also spelled Kharoshthi or Kharoṣṭhī (Kharosthi: 𐨑𐨪𐨆𐨯𐨠𐨁), formerly called "Arian-Pali",[1] was an ancient Indian script used in Gandhara (now Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan)[2] to write Gandhari Prakrit and Sanskrit. It was used in Central Asia as well.[2] An abugida, it was introduced at least by the middle of the 3rd century BCE, possibly during the 4th century BCE,[3] and remained in use until it died out in its homeland around the 3rd century CE.[2]

It was also in use in Bactria, the Kushan Empire, Sogdia and along the Silk Road, where there is some evidence it may have survived until the 7th century in Khotan and Niya, both cities in Xinjiang.


  1. "When these alphabets were first deciphered, scholars gave them different names such as 'Indian-Pali' for Brahmi and 'Arian-Pali' for Kharosthi, but these terms are no longer in use." in Upāsaka, Sī Esa; Mahāvihāra, Nava Nālandā (2002). History of palæography of Mauryan Brāhmī script. Nava Nālanda Mahāvihāra. p. 6. ISBN 9788188242047. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 R. D. Banerji (April 1920). "The Kharosthi Alphabet". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (2): 193–219. JSTOR 25209596. 
  3. Salomon 1998, pp. 11–13.

Further reading

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