chola coins
  • hi guys,

    For a change throwing this in....just a few points for interested
    people to talk of ( this is just a draft - pl correct me if i am

    Chola coinage:

    uttama coin - seated tiger only with fish ( two fish hanging on a
    line - how symbolic - but why two fish), no bow - note the seated
    tiger always has the royal umbrella over its head. somtimes its
    shown with two chowries ( fly wisks)

    then comes our beloved RRC - he has the seated tiger with similar
    two fish and bow ....maybe after kandalur salai conquest of chola

    rajendra goes one more step... fish,bow plus a royal parasol, in
    his seal he adds the boar ( royal parasol - the vijaya throna -
    boar...chalukya?) and some of his coins have a seated tiger on the
    other side and a seated human facing it...( i have read somewhere
    that the human figure came after the occupation of lanka...taking on
    some lankan coin design)

    rajadhiraja ... a human figure seated in front of the tiger and
    the other side a standing human figure ....

    Kulottunga - has seated tiger and fish
  • Vijay! excellent!

    I had never thought in this way!

  • Can u give any images of these coins..Im eager to see tht all.
    Any website??
  • Dear Vijay,

    another wonderful topic for Doctorate !

    Design and Development of Ancient coins !

    anbudan / sps
  • You can see Rajendra's coin here -

    I just removed outer text and put our PSVP name. Vijay has uploaded
    the actual coin image in Files section, check for karandai plate.
  • Hi,

    If you see the coins, you can clearly see that the text in those coins
    is not in Tamil. They are either of Nagari or Sanskrit(??).
    Were Nagari and Sanskrit in vogue during the chola rule?
    Even if they were, wouldnt tamil have made the correct choice for the
    text that went in the coins? When all the inscriptions are in tamil,
    why are the coins in sanskrit?
  • Interesting observation!

    Is it because chola coins were accepted in other parts of Bharat as
    well? sanskrit was the unofficial common language understood by some
    people at least everywhere. Inscriptions are for local people,
    especially when they are dealing with local issues, local language is
    the obvious choice.

  • Thats one of the angles. It could have been because of the extent of
    trade we had with various parts extending upto kadaram.So, they needed
    a language that could provide a link.
    But within any country(especially Tamilnadu), Sanskrit was used by
    only a few elite and the scholarly. Common man used only Tamil.
    So, i would require both Tamil and Sanskrit to be used, to be
    comprehended by both the locals and those outside the chola dominion.
    With only Sanskrit being used, did the chola kings assume that their
    citizens would identify their coins and their country only based on
    the images(or seals) embossed on them? So, this places a lot of
    emphasis on the pictograph rather than on the text.
  • Sorry, I jumped the gun. Yes, it is his seal.
  • Mouli and others,

    Thanks for this part of conversation! I was angry and frustrated on seeing why these coins contain these sanskrit letters when our divine language is there!

    Now im happy that its because we did trade - unlike others - throughout the country!!

    simply our Kings are great!

    Shri :D
  • :(

    then did Tamizh derive from Sanskrit? Please dont say that! I will die then!

  • Shri,

    Please don't get too emotional. It is hindrance to finding the
    actual truth, that is why we have different versions of story for each
    incident. Tamizh is great and our kings are great that doesn't mean
    that other languages and kings are not comparable.
  • :) i will read it

  • :)

    Thanks. i always keep Tamizh above anything. that's y i get emotional. (sorry)

  • Mr.Ramachandran, Epigraphist, TN State Archeology (if my memory
    servers correct), once gave a lecture to our group members and said,
    there is a lot of Misconception about Sanskrit today. Sanskrit was the
    official language of the yester years and almost everyone knew it,
    unlike today. Today our coins have English and Hindi and not tamil of
    any native language. Even illiterate villagers use terms like
    'form','application', can identify what denomination the coin/currency
    is even if they are not able to read what is written on it.

    So I feel that, saying Sanskrit was used only by elite is a
    misconception. It was used as we use English today. We all know why we
    dont know Sanskrit in today's world.
  • That's a valid point Satish. But if most of the people (if not all)
    knew sanksrit, then why they used Tamil in the inscriptions instead of
    the same sanksrit they used in coins? Since most of their citizens
    knew sanksrit, it would have made sense for the rulers to etch their
    achievements in sanksrit, so that even other state people read and
    understood them when they came here.
    Or did they also have inscriptions in sanskrit? If so, what happened
    to them? were they vandalised or lost? Or do such inscriptions exist
    now(of the tamil rulers)?

    And lastly, i can agree with sanksrit. But why Nagari?
  • while on that subject, minting gold chola goins does feature
    predominantly in PS. where all apart from minting did the master
    discuss fanam or panam in PS, ss or pk.....
  • I have not still understood why the title, the cast and support staff
    are all first shown in English, and then in Tamil in all Tamil movies.
    Perhaps the mindset of the film producers may give a clue.

  • Sampath,

    I had the same question in mind!

  • Chandra! you're right!!

    Why they dont have in Tamil?

    I have read another topic that during the first "Kudamuzhukku" of the Great Thanjai Temple, a fire accident happened! and scholars say that its because that during the construction of the Temple, they agreed to do the mantrams in Tamil. But they didnt do that it seems.
    That's why the accident caused....

    During the recent 'Kudamuzhukku also there was a fire accident. Again the same reason. the mantrams were in Sanskrit but not in Tamil.

    P.S: according to the agama vidhi, everybody agreed that the rituals will happen only in Tamil. (ofcourse our RRC loves Tamil and no wonder he must have agreed to that)

    Can anybody comment on this and clarify my doubt, please?

  • Mouli,

    I am no expert, but still putting forth my thoughts.
    We had a discussion on 'UTHAMA'. Some said its tamil and others said
    Sanskrit. Though its Sanksrit, many think its tamil because of its
    common usage. So common people do not know the difference between
    languages is my humble opinion. Commonly used words are common among
    common people and thats why its common (visu nyabagam varudha).

    Even today, govt letter heads will have the title and other top
    portion of the letter head printed in English, but the actual content
    of the letter can be in Tamil. Why? Do you have an answer? If yes, the
    same applies to epigraph as well. even if you dont have an answer, the
    same applies to epigraph :) (cha enakku theriyalangaratha eppadi poosi
    mozhuga vendiyirukku)
  • > > > Or did they also have inscriptions in sanskrit? If so, what
    > > > to them? were they vandalised or lost? Or do such inscriptions
    > > > now(of the tamil rulers)?

    Ok, this question has to be answered and answered once for all.
    thanks to legends like Dr Nagaswamy, we have these
    resources....warning you before, its a long article - maybe you will
    realise how much or how little is known to us, truly katrathu kai
    man alavu....

    The Eslam copper plate grant of Rajendra Cola is the third charter
    of the ruler to have been found so far. The Tiruvalangadu plates(5.
    South Indian Inscriptions Vol. III Part III nº 205, p. 383-439,
    Madras, 1920.) issued in his sixth year, and the Karandai copper
    plates issued in his 8th year are the two charters of this ruler
    found earlier. The Karandai plates(6. K. G. Krishnan, Karandai Tamil
    Sangam plates of Rajendra Chola I, Memoirs of the Archaeological
    Survey of India, Nº 79, New Delhi, 1984.) is by far the biggest
    royal charter to have been found inscribed on copper sheets-anywhere
    in India. It records the creation of a brahmadeya and gift of lands
    to 1080 Brahminds. Both the Tiruvalangadu and Esalam grants, relate
    to the gift of devatana taxes to temples and hence would fall under
    the same class of grants. Interestingly both were found within the
    temples and along with bronze images. Obviously both were buried in
    troubed times to safeguard the bronzes and the charters. The larger
    Leiden grant(7.Epigraphia Indica XXII, p. 213.) was made by Rajaraja
    Cola but issued by Rajendra; with that, the total number would be
    The Eslam grant is interessting as it refers to the construction of
    the temple by Rajendra's Rajaguru and was found in the same temeple
    premises. The village was a suburb of Rajaraja-caturvedi-mangalam
    (Ennayiram) where Rajendra established one of the biggest vedic
    colleges. Nearby is Brahmadesam where there are Chola temples. The
    importance of the place,and what prompted the Rajaguru to select
    this place,and other problems deserve special study which we propose
    to take up later.
    The charter consists of fifteen copper sheets engraved on both
    sides, fastened to a ring, which is sealed at the mouth with the
    royal insignia of emperor Rajendra Cola (Ph.16 and 17). The whole
    charer is intacat without any damage, except the last sheet which is
    slightly broken at the bottom in a corner. A very insignificant
    breakage is also noticed in the last but one sheet. Since the last
    sheet has been bearing the weight during its burial and handling, it
    shows faint tearing near the ring hole and a hair line crack below.
    Otherwise the charter is in a very good state of preservation.
    MEASUREMENTS Plates: length : 34.0 cm. breadth : 16.5 cm.
    thickness : 4.0 cm. Ring: diameter : 34.0 cm. thickness : 2.0 cm.
    Seal: diameter : 13.5 cm.
    The plates are numbered serially (Ph.18 to 47). The charter is in
    two parts, the first part in Sanskrit and the second part in Tamil.
    The Sanskrit part covering three plates and a part of the front page
    of the fourth plate is written in grantha characters, while the
    Tamil part is in Tamil letters of the Cola age.
    The care with which the charter is engraved shows that it is the
    work of a royal scribe. The Sanskrit part of the grant gives the
    name of the engraver as Ulakalanta-chola Acaryan. The inscription of
    the seal is also in grantha characters and is preserved in excellent
    condition. The engraving on the plates is uniformly good except at a
    few places.
    The Karandai plates of Rajendra was engraved by different persons
    whose names are given as Tribhuvanamadevi Peracarya and
    Rajendrasimha Peracarya. The Tiruvalangadu plates were engraved by
    four acarya-s,three of whom were also the engravers of Larger Leiden
    grant of Rajendra.Two amongst them were the engravers of Karandai
    plate. The engraver of the Esalam plate is different whose name was
    Ulagalanta Acari.
    The name Vasudeva occurs at the end of the Sanskrit part of the
    Esalam plate. A certain Vasudevan, son of Krishnan, is known among
    the family of engravers (K.G.K.P. 54) but he had the title Rajaraja
    peracaryan who was one of the engravers of Leiden plates. It is
    difficult to say whether the engraver of Esalam plates is identical
    with or related to Vasudevan of Leiden grant. Sri Krishnan holds
    that the word kastakari ascribed to the engravers in the Karandai
    plates indicates that they were carpenters by
    profession. "Kashtakari" is a Sanskrit coinage of the word "taksaka"
    tacca) which actually means silpin-s and no carpenters. Several
    inscriptions use this term "kashtakari",in the sense of sthapathi-s,
    silpin-s, architects. Krishnan's view needs to be revised. Silpin-s
    of great accomplishment were in the employ of the kings to engrave
    their royal charters.
    B. THE POET-COMPOSER The Sanskrit portion of the Esalam grant was
    composed by poet Narayana Kavi, son of Sankara, a resident of
    Parsvagrama. It is the same poet who composed the Tiruvalangadu and
    Karandai plates of Rajendra. K. G. Krishnan suggests that the same
    Narayana was also the composer of Larger Leiden Grants (P. 53) which
    is not unlikely. It is clear that almost from the 5th year of
    Rajendra to his 25th year, this poet has been occupying an important
    position in the court of Rajendra Cola. One of the verses found in
    the Karandai plates is verbatim used in the Esalam plates.
    Krishnan's identification of the village Parsvagrama with the
    village Kottaiyur a nearby (Parsvagrama) of the lands gifted in
    Karandai plates, needs revision in the light of this grant. C.
    AJNAPTI The anjapti of this Esalam grant was Narakkan Marayan
    Jananathan alias Rajendra Cola Brahmamarayan. In the Sanskrit
    portion he is called Jananatha, son of Raman. The Karandai plates
    mention the very same Jananatha as mantrin, minister, to king
    Rajendra, and was the vijnapti of that grant. Obviously he occupied
    this high post under Rajendra from his 8th year to his 25th year. He
    was one of the sons of Krishnan Raman, who was called Rajendra Cola
    Brahmamarayan. Krsnan Raman from the same village- -Keralantaka
    caturvedi-mangalam, in Vennadu, in Uyyakondar valanadu, was the
    commander in chief of Rajaraja. He erected the enclosure t
  • for those who want to give this a serious thought ( not for the light
    hearted) - these are not studies but a penance...and the greats share
    it with us....maybe they will light a spark in someone of us who will
    then take on the torch sorry task...

    chola coins

    (do hv some patience in going through the whole article - there is a
    beautiful comparison of chola goldcoins and its value measured in
    terms of cost for burning of the perpetual lampin the various

    pandya coins

    pallava coins

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