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Mughal Coinage

Technically, the Mughal period in India commenced in 1526 AD when Babur defeated Ibrahim
Lodhi, the Sultan of Delhi and ended in 1857 AD when the British deposed and exiled Bahadur
Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor after the great uprising. The later emperors after Shah Alam
II were little more than figureheads.

The most significant monetary contribution of the Mughals was to bring about uniformity and
consolidation of the system of coinage throughout the Empire. The system lasted long after the
Mughal Empire was effectively no more. The system of tri-metalism which came to characterise
Mughal coinage was largely the creation, not of the Mughals but of Sher Shah Suri (1540 to 1545
AD), an Afghan, who ruled for a brief time in Delhi. Sher Shah issued a coin of silver which was
termed the Rupiya. This weighed 178 grains and was the precursor of the modern rupee. It
remained largely unchanged till the early 20th Century. Together with the silver Rupiya were
issued gold coins called the Mohur weighing 169 grains and copper coins called Dam.

Where coin designs and minting techniques were concerned, Mughal Coinage reflected originality
and innovative skills. Mughal coin designs came to maturity during the reign of the Grand Mughal,
Akbar. Innovations like ornamentation of the background of the die with floral scrollwork were
introduced. Jehangir took a personal interest in his coinage. The surviving gigantic coins, are
amongst the largest issued in the world. The Zodiacal signs, portraits and literary verses and the
excellent calligraphy that came to characterise his coins took Mughal Coinage to new heights.

Coins of the Mughal Empire


One Rupee-Sher

Shah Suri(Afghan)



The early years of Shah Jehan's reign brought forth a large variety of types; coin design was
standardised towards the latter part of his reign. Aurangzeb, the last of the Grand Mughals was
austere in his ways and orthodox in his beliefs. He did away with the Kalima, the Islamic Article of
Faith from his coins, and the format of coins was standardised to incorporate the name of the
ruler, the mint and the date of issue.

Early Cholas
Main article: Early Cholas

The earliest Chola kings for whom there is tangible evidence are mentioned in the
Sangam literature. Scholars generally agree that this literature belongs to the first few
centuries of the common era.[14] The internal chronology of this literature is still far from
settled, and at present a connected account of the history of the period cannot be derived.
The Sangam literature records the names of the kings and the princes, and of the poets
who extolled them. Despite a rich literature that depicts the life and work of these people,
these cannot be worked into connected history.[28]

An early silver coin of Uttama Chola found in Sri Lanka showing the Tiger emblem of
the Cholas.In Grantha Tamil.[29][30]

The Sangam literature also records legends about mythical Chola kings.[31][32][33][34] These
myths speak of the Chola king Kantaman, a supposed contemporary of the sage Agastya,
whose devotion brought the river Kaveri into existence.[35][36]

Two names stand out prominently from among those Chola kings known to have existed,
who feature in Sangam literature: Karikala Chola[37][38][39] and Kocengannan.[40] There is
no sure means of settling the order of succession, of fixing their relations with one
another and with many other princelings of about the same period.[41][42] Urayur (now
in/part-of Thiruchirapalli) was their oldest capital.[33] Kaveripattinam also served as an
early Chola capital.[43] The Mahavamsa mentions that an ethnic Tamil adventurer, a
Chola prince known as Elara, invaded the island around 235 BCE and that King
Gajabahu visited Chera Cenguttuvan around 108 CE.[33][44]


Pandyan coin depicting a temple between hill symbols and elephant, Pandyas, Sri Lanka,
1st century CE.

The earliest Pandya to be found in epigraph is Nedunjeliyan, figuring in the

Minakshipuram record assigned from the second to the 1st centuries BCE. The record
documents a gift of rock-cut beds, to a Jain ascetic. Punch marked coins in the Pandya
country dating from around the same time have also been found.

Pandyas are also mentioned in the Pillars of Ashoka (inscribed 273 – 232 BCE). In his
inscriptions Asoka refers to the peoples of south India — the Cholas, Cheras, Pandyas
and Satiyaputras — as recipients of his Buddhist proselytism.[10][11] These kingdoms,
although not part of the Mauryan Empire, were on friendly terms with Asoka:

"The conquest by Dharma has been won here, on the borders, and even six
hundred yojanas (5,400–9,600 km) away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules,
beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and
Alexander rule, likewise in the south among the Cholas, the Pandyas, and as far as
Tamraparni (Sri Lanka)." [12]

Kharavela, the Kalinga king who ruled during the 2nd century BCE, in his Hathigumpha
inscription, claims to have destroyed a confederacy of Tamil states
(‘’Tamiradesasanghatam’’) which had lasted 132 years, and to have acquired a large
quantity of pearls from the Pandyas.[11]

[edit] Foreign sources

According to the Mahavamsa – a historical poem written in the Pali language, of the
kings of Sri Lanka – King Vijaya (543 – 505 BCE) married a Pandyan Princess. Along
with Vijaya, all the men in his crew got married to Madurai girls and arrived Srilanka
with a great celebration.

Coin of the Roman emperor Augustus found at the Pudukottai, South India.

Muziris, as shown in the Tabula Peutingeriana, with a "Templum Augusti".

Megasthenes knew of the Pandyan kingdom around 300 BCE. He described it in Indika
as occupying the portion of India which lies southward and extends to the sea. According
to his account, it had 365 villages, each of which was expected to meet the needs of the
royal household for one day in the year. He described the Pandyan queen at the time,
Pandaia as a daughter of Heracles.[13]

The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (c. 60 – 100 CE) describes the riches of a 'Pandian

...Nelcynda is distant from Muziris by river and sea about five hundred stadia,
and is of another Kingdom, the Pandian. This place also is situated on a river,
about one hundred and twenty stadia from the sea.... [14]

The Chinese historian Yu Huan in his 3rd century text, the Weilüe, mentions The
Kingdom of Panyue:
...The kingdom of Panyue is also called Hanyuewang. It is several thousand li to
the southeast of Tianzhu (Northern India)...The inhabitants are small; they are
the same height as the Chinese...[15]