Why do North Indian Brahmins pronounce ‘ṣa’ (ष) as ‘kha’ (ख) while chanting mantras? Do they follow a different school (shakha) and is there a rule in any Pratishakhya of that particular school or is it incorrect chanting?

Here are a few examples of the letter ‘ṣa’ (ष) being pronounced as ‘kha’ (ख), while chanting by North Indian Brahmins:-

  1. Yajurvedic Puruṣa Sūktam as opposed to the Rigvedic Puruṣa Sūktam chanted by South Indian Brahmins. One would clearly see that in the former, Puruṣa is pronounced as Purukha, while the latter retains the original pronunciation. In Yajurvedic recitations by South Indian Brahmins also there is no ‘kha’ pronunciation.
  2. Svasti Mantra, North Indian style.
  3. Rudri Patha, North Indian style.

Also if they do in fact follow a different school, I would like to know in which areas is this school spread (including the South if at all)? Is this chanting style prevalent in Western and Eastern India as well? Also which school is prevalent in Southern India, that retains the original ‘ṣa‘ sound?


These are understood as northern vs. Southern difference but it actually has to do with the rules of vedic chanting which comes under siksha part of the vedanga.

For madhyAndina branch of shukla yajurveda samhita there are many special and unique features such as horizontal hand gestures and double pronunciation and so on

Sha , va , ya, refa, etc. Are differently pronounced. You can understand it from this documentary.

Also you can check this and this.

  • No you can read subtitles. I think this question was posted before also Jun 29 '20 at 5:31
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    This is a link-only answer. "You can understand it from this documentary. Also you can check this and this." - You need to explain what the video says in the answer. If the links don't work, your answer isn't useful anymore. Jun 30 '20 at 4:15
  • @sv. If links are dead then come back and vote for deletion. It would be out of insanity to try to explain in text how to pronounce words or move hands during specific gestures. Jul 7 '20 at 22:19
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    @RakeshJoshi I read your answer without clicking on any of the links and I don't understand how this answers the question ('Why do North Indian Brahmins pronounce ‘ṣa’ (ष) as ‘kha’ (ख) while chanting mantras?'). You should try to summarize what they say in the 3 videos. Jul 7 '20 at 23:22
  • @sv. First you were questioning me now you are also questioning the poster itself.. if there is nothing in my answer how did he select it as an answer? Let's do this, i will show you some pronunciation and hand gestures and will ask you to explain in plain text, if you can then I will take down my answer if no you should quit this forum altogether? Jul 8 '20 at 3:17

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