As seen in the previous blog, the concept of Daśāvatāra or ten incarnation of Viṣṇū is an all accepted phenomenon in India. The polytheistic Hindū Dharma believes in the presence of one and more deities that will protect them from the occurrences and recurrences of the Evil. The Concept of Daśāvatāra is a byproduct of this belief. The Depiction of the Daśāvatāra on Indian Coins issued by different dynasties of India is proof of that not only the concept of Daśāvatāra was accepted by the Indian Society but also the idea of Viṣṇū being a major deity was acknowledged. The Depiction of Daśāvatāra on Indian Coins I established the core concept of Daśāvatāra as well as the first five reincarnations of Viṣṇū. In this part, we unveil the rest! Continue reading Depiction of Daśāvatāra on Indian Coins II
Coins make history speak! They are not just a means of exchange but also a store of value. Their metallic quality helps judge the economic state of a reign while their spread indicates how far a ruler’s sovereignty extended. This huge development of economy and expansion of kingdom can be traced in the coins issued during the reign of Akbar Badshah. Akbar’s coinage provides a powerful reflection of his own personality and they are most beautiful, exquisite and varied among the one that are minted by other Mughal Emperors. Continue reading The Coins of the Glorious Mughal Empire: Akbar’s coinage
In ancient India women held a higher position in the society, ancient texts are full of such references to justify the contribution of women. The earliest evidence of woman’s position in the society is seen through the findings of the mother goddess and fertility cult worship from the Indus valley civilization. Yet, seldom there will be any reference to women on Indian coins as a sovereign compared to men. Continue reading Affirmation of women empowerment: Women on Indian coins-I
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत ।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे॥
“It is I who descends to earth from time to time to reinstitute the order when the anarchy prevails” – the concept of Divine descend is a phenomenon that speaks about the manifestation of divinity into a form. In Bhagawad Gitā  Shri Kiṣṇa declares that God himself incarnates to eradicate the evil, to put an end to the impious practices and to eliminate the chaos that prevailed in an otherwise peaceful society. These incarnations or the Avatāras is a core concept of Hinduism and being the preserver and sustainer Aspect of God within the Hindu Trinity; they are often associated with Viṣṇu. When pertaining to Avatāras in the Hindu tradition, the most widely associated deity is clearly Viṣṇu. According to the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Viṣṇu has innumerable Avatāras in unlimited universes, though there are ten major incarnations, known collectively as Daśāvatāra. The concept of Daśāvatāra – ten incarnations of Lord Viṣṇu – is not treated as mere mythological or religious stories in India, but is incorporated in the roots of Indian society in the form of philosophy as well as performing arts and creative arts. The most unusual combination of Daśāvatāra mythology, Indian art forms and the practicality of Indian society is “the Depiction of Daśāvatāra on Indian Coins”.
The Mughals hardly require any introduction; it is perhaps the most famous dynasty in Indian history. The coinage of the Mughal Empire occupies a unique position in the history of Indian numismatics. Endowed with the imagination and magnificence of Akbar and Jahangir that was fostered by the later Mughal emperors, Mughals presented a breathtaking example of coinage in terms of art and wealth. Here, in this session, we will see the endearing couplets which beautifully bore on the coins of Jahangir. These soulful couplets are the clear evidence was of his obsession with the Poetries. His obsession reflected excellently through his coins.
The advent of the Common Era brought the rule of the illustrious Kushan and the Gupta empires. When the mighty Kushan Empire crumbled, many small kingdoms acquired territories. One such was the Gupta dynasty. Starting from a small kingdom in Magadha in the late 3rd century CE, the Guptas gradually extended their rule over a large part of Southern Asia. Under the able and strong leadership of many rulers, this dynasty grew and became deeply rooted in the Indian subcontinent. The empire at its paramount included all of northern India from the Indus in the west to the Brahmaputra in the east and in the south it extended along the eastern coast of the Indian peninsula.
In legal terms, a princely state was defined as ‘Any territory, whether described as a state, an estate, a jagir or otherwise, belonging to or under the suzerainty of a ruler who is under the suzerainty of His Majesty and not being part of British India (under direct colonial administration)’ – Section 31 (I) of the Government of India Act, 1935. This elastic definition applied to entities of diverse size and status, the number of which varied according to different interpretations. Most of the official documents mention 562 princely states, but other governmental sources numbered 600 or more. Out of these 60 of them issued their own Princely state coins. Let’s continue from the last part and look into the ones that did:
Ancient India is full of marvel and every time we turn the pages of it, we stumble upon something fascinating. Today we will study the Indian Temples on coins and revise the evolution of temple architecture! Numismatics has discovered various historical facts about Indian history. Every tiny piece of coin reveals the different story behind it. Coin collecting is a fascinating hobby, but what attracts you the most when you see a coin?
Prior to 1947, hundreds of Princely States existed in India which were not formally ruled by the British, but rather by a local or regional ruler. These vassal states, also called native states, were subject to a subsidiary alliance and the suzerainty or paramountcy of the British Crown. Along with status, size and wealth differences, Princely State coins varied vastly as well. However, not all Princely States issued their own coins. Check out the ones that did:
Elephants play a very important role in many cultures and traditions. But we do not have to go deep into the “cultural” and “religious” significance of these majestic animals to understand why they are such a hit with the public! Just type ‘elephant’ in your Google search and you will find so many adorable videos and images of elephants. Right from the “Manny” of Ice Age (although Manny is a mammoth) to “Snorky” of the Banana Splits Club, our cartoons, movies and Facebook walls are full of cute elephants. Today we find elephants all over the social media, but in the ancient and the medieval times, they adorned various paintings, sculptures and coins! Let’s continue our journey of exploring elephants on Indian coins.