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Mūlabhadra (മൂലഭദ്ര) aka Mūlabhadri (ml:മൂലഭദ്രി) was a secret method of communication employed by the royal spies of the erstwhile Travancore Kingdom during the medieval period.[1] The scheme was also colloquially referred to as Mūlapatra. It was essentially a cryptographic scheme involving a partial transposition of the letters of the Malayalam alphabet. The scheme had been extensively used by King Marthanda Varma (1706–1758) of Travancore Kingdom and his spies both for oral and written communication of messages.[1] It was a fixed one-time unchangeable code in as much as it did not employ any key in its implementation in contrast to modern methods of substitution ciphers involving the utilisation of a key for generating a system of codes. Mūlabhadra is the only such scheme known to have been used in governance in this part of India during this period.[citation needed]

The scheme

The following tables give the transposition scheme used in the Mulabhadra code.[1]


Clear text അം അഃ
Cipher text കാ കി കീ കു കൂ കൃ കെ കേ കൈ കൊ കോ കൌ കം ക:


Clear text
Cipher text
Clear text:
Cipher text ക്ഷ


Clear text: ല്‍ ന്‍ ര്‍ ള്‍
Cipher text പ് മ് ഷ് ക്ഷ്


The users had developed a mnemonic to learn and remember this language. The mnemonic was very similar to Sanskrit slokas.





Clear text പല്‍മനാഭപുരം രാമന്‍ ആള്‍ക്കാര്‍
Cipher text തസ്നറാധതുഷം ഷാനമ് കാക്ഷ് ആര്‍

See also


  1. ^ a b c Bhaskaranunni, Pi. (1988). Pattompatāṃ nūt̲t̲āṇṭile Kēraḷaṃ: paṭhanaṃ (പത്തൊമ്പതാം നൂറ്റാണ്ടിലെ കേരളം) [Kerala in the Nineteenth Century] (in Malayalam). Thrissur, Kerala, India: Kerala Sahitya Akademi. p. 670. LCCN 91904280.