Coinage of the Chalukyas

In the south, the coinage was reintroduced by the Chalukyas of Badami after a brief break of coinage less period of nearly three century.  The gold mining capability and the widely accepted Roman dinars made probably made the south to adopt gold as the metal for the coinage.  The other lesser used metals such as silver makes us to believe that the metals such as copper and silver were imported and were very scarce.  The coinage in the south adopted totally a different standard weighing around 4 gms and were known as Hun (Honnu in Canarese), and its fractions were Fana or Fanam (a old Kannada representation for money, Hana the new Kannada) and the quarter fanam.  Most of the major kingdoms of the south India were in trade with the kingdoms of the north (Ganges Valley) and Sri Lanka, Java, borneo etc., islands, and those kingdoms were probably the influential source for the fabric of the coin.  Both punch marking and die striking methods may explain it better.  The wide spread of trade with the other kingdoms accounts for the need of having coined transactions.

Many of the die struck pagodas (Huns were commonly termed Pagoda for the Pagoda device they carried on the coinage) carrying symbols of temple on the obverse are attributed to Mangalesa's period (597 - 610 AD).  They carried the device such as 'Sceptre between two lamps" or temple on the reverse.  The pagoda with a archaic style caparisoned Lion facing right on the obverse and temple on the reverse are attributed to Pulakesi-II (610 - 642AD).   After the Pallava incursion, the coinages seems to have ceased.

The uninscribed die struck coins are attributed as the earlier coinage of the series.  They typically carried the symbol BOAR facing right (which could be seen in all the reverses of Viraraya fanam issued till 19th century) on the obverse and the lotus top view on the reverse.  This appearance boar named the coinage as Varaha subsequently during the later period.  They seems to have been in circulation between 973 and 1068 AD.  The one with the inscription "Sri Gangeya) Deba De", "Sri Venga vadi Gonda" are attributed to Jayasimha-II (1015 - 1043).

The credit of issuing first punch marked coinage of the south goes to the Eastern Chalukyas, which began much before the mid 10th century.  The boar figure on the centre with repetitive symbols of four dots on each quadrant of the square on the periphery of the coin is attributed to Saktivarman.  The legend "Suvarna" punch on the coin represents the unit of transaction than the King's name or title.  Some of Saktivarman's issue of gold coins has the legend "Sri Chalukya Chandra" or "Sri Chalukya Rayana". Some even carried the name of the Hindu Cyclic year.  Raja Raja Chalukya's (1019 - 1060 AD) coinage resembles that of Saktivarman too, but it carried the legend "Sri Raja Raja".

The Western Chalukyas struck punch marked gold pagodas too which were large thin gold coin (circular foil of size 30 mm and weight around 4 gms) with several varying punch marks on them on the obverse.  They usually carried multiple punches of symbols such as stylished Lion, Sri in Canarese, Spearhead, King's title, lotus etc., The legend punches such as "Sri Jaya" seems to have been issued by Jayasimha-II (1015 - 1043 AD).  The legend "Sri Tre lo ka malla" and "Bhuvana" refers to the coinage of Somesvara-I - the Trailokyamalla and of Somesvara-II - the Bhuvaneka mallaLakshmideva's coin carried the legend "Sri Lasha", and Jagadekamalla-II coinage had the legend "Sri Jagade".

During the intervening period of the Chalukya line, Bijjala Kalachuri  too issued coinage in the same fabric.  Instead of the central Lion symbol, they punched the running "Garuda with a long beak?" figure, which could be seen in the die struck pagodas of the subsequent rulers of the Chalukya line, such as Somesvara-IV (running figure on the obverse and Dasapa Murari on the reverse).  The same running figure influenced the later Vijayanagara coinage of Harihara and Bukka on which the running figure is interpreted by the numismatists as a warrior/Hanuman.

LAST UPDATED 1st Nov 2001
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