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Each vowel in Hindi has two forms: an independent character, and a mātrā, or vowel marker. A mātrā is added to a consonant to denote the vowel sound following it. First learn the independent characters, then their mātrās. Listed below is the independent character, a consonant combined with the mātrā, and an example word using that vowel.

Vowel Mātrā Example Audio
 a  ka कब kab
 ā का  बात bāt
 i िक ki दिन din
 ī की  जीभ jībh
 u कु ku डुबना ḍubnā
 ū कू  भूत bhūt
 o को ko जोश josh
 au कौ kau शौक shauk
 e के ke जेब jeb
 ai कै kai कैसा kaisa
  कृ kṛ कृपया kṛpya

Independent Character vs. Mātrā

The independent character can be used in two different situations. First, if a word starts with a vowel sound, then the independent character is used.

 e + क k = एक ek

The other way the independent character can be used is when two vowels are together, with not consonant in the middle.

 k + अ a + ई i = कई kai

The mātrā for a vowel is used when the vowel sound is after a consonant.

 k + ए e + क k = केक kek

Two Important Exceptions

Notice below how these two mātrās are written to the right of the consonant, rather than under it. These are the only two exceptions.

 r + उ u = रु ru

 r + ऊ ū = रू