Our access to ancient Indian texts, many of which have a history of more than a millennium, is based on manuscripts whose lifespan is normally not more than a few centuries. From early times onwards, efforts have been made to collect, store and preserve the manuscripts in libraries inside and outside India[1]. In the second half of the 18th century, a few British officers such as Sir William Jones (1746-1794), Sir Robert Chambers (1774-1779), Colin Mackenzie (1782 - 1806) took a deep interest in Indian culture. They tried to get acquainted with the Sanskrit language and literature, and started collecting inscriptions, epigraphs, and manuscripts privately. An institution named as "The Asiatic Society of Bengal" was established in 1781 with as one of its aims the collection and preservation of valuable manuscripts, a huge number of which was lying in the houses of scholars, in schools and pâøhaåâlâs, in religious maøhs, monasteries, chaityas, temples, palace and village libraries in Bengal and different parts of India. Later on, in the latter half of the 19th century, the then Government of India took an active part and allocated funds for the collection of manuscripts. Scholars such as G. Bühler, A.C. Burnell, R.G. Bhandarkar, R.L. Mitra, F. Kielhorn, G. Oppert, G.B. Malleson and few others were deputed to tour in different provinces of India in search of manuscripts, to make a list of the available ones and to purchase the more important of them. Since then the mission of the collection, preservation, and cataloguing of manuscripts, and the preparation of critical editions of important texts conserved in them, is going on in and outside India by scholars world wide with an interest to protect and study this rich cultural heritage. To get a better understanding of the ancient texts these manuscripts contain, it is important to know the history and pedigree of the manuscripts and of the collections to which they belong. In South India, manuscripts were till relatively recently produced and preserved according to ancient procedures and on traditional materials, namely palm leaf. Moreover, in South India a large number of regional scripts have remained in use for writing Sanskrit texts. A detailed knowledge of these scripts and their mutual stylistic influence is of primary importance for the attribution of a date and place of origin to the manuscripts. RAJENDRA See MoreSee less