The Palm Leaf Manuscripts

Dear All!


Let's talk about the Palm Leaf manuscripts!


There is a large number of different kinds of information written onto the palm leaves, and here we are going to learn about the "What's, Why's, and When's" regarding the leaves. This will essentially be like an introduction to the palm leaves, so let's dive in!


What is a Palm Leaf?

The Palm Leaves are created from the leaf of a palmyra palm tree. 

If you want to learn more about the actual palm trees, you can visit the following link and read about them ~here

Palm trees are found in tropical, subtropical, and temperate climates, and they are native to both the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

Why use a Palm Leaf?

If the leaf of the palm tree is maintained using the correct method, they can withstand much time and last through the ages!

How does the Palm Leaf become a Palm Leaf Manuscript?

A special method is used to choose any palm leaves that will go on to be used for a manuscript. The leaf should not be too tender or too matured. Once an appropriate leaf is chosen, it is cut into the required shape, and is then cooked in sacred water (pure river water) or milk. After this they are shade-dried, which is important because direct sunlight can make the palm leaf brittle, meaning it may not then withstand being written on. Once the leaf is completely dried, it is then pressed with wooden planks to level and flatten it, the corners are trimmed, and the leaf is polished.

Following this, small holes are made at the ends and chords are passed through the holes. Two wooden planks are then prepared according to the dimensions of the palm leaf and placed on both ends, similar to a cardboard cover that we often place on either side of books to protect them. Now the palm leaf is ready for the author to express his knowledge upon it. The author writes onto the leaf using a pointed metal stylus, similar to the one in the photo below.

When were Palm Leaf Manuscripts used?

For the most part, processed manuscript palm leaves were used in the olden days, just like we would use paper in the present day. Palm leaf manuscripts were used from as far back as 80 million years ago! Normally the palm leaf manuscript has a life span of 300-350 years, therefore before a palm leaf decays the manuscript is carefully copied on to a new palm leaf to preserve the information and wisdom for the next generation to hear.

In conclusion, after talking through many aspects regarding these fascinating palm leaves, we hope you have learnt something new today!


In the next post, we will learn about some of the wise authors that wrote onto the palm leaves.