Yoga Narasimha on Coins

28 Aug 2019  Wed

Known by many names such as Lakshmi Narasimha or Ugra Narasimha, Yoga Narasimha is the largest statue in Hampi. The depiction of the similar sculpture is found on a couple of coins of ancient India.

Narasimha (meaning “half-man half-lion” in local the languages) is one of the ten incarnations (avatar) of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu incarnates as a man with the head and paws like a lion to help his devotee and to get rid of the tyrant king. The tale of Narasimha is a famous mythological tale amongst the Indians.

Yoga Narasimha is a very unique sculpture. Iconographically speaking the sculpture shows a very distinct form of Lord Vishnu. The reason that Narasimha in this particular form is called as Yoga Narasimha is that he is shown sitting crossed-legged in a Yogic Posture. This sculpture is also known as Ugra Narasimha because of the ferociousness in the expressions of Narasimha.

This particular pose is probably favorite of the kings as it can be seen depicted on a few coins such as the coins shown above which are the Gold Fanam of Krishna Raja Wodeyar and the Copper Kasu of Kongu Cheras.

The Gold Fanam was issued during the time of Krishna Raja Wodeyar of Mysore which depicts Narasimha on the obverse and the Kanarese legend Kanthirava Narasa Raja on the reverse. On the other hand, the Copper kasu was issued by the Kongu Cheras Depicting Narasimha on the reverse. The obverse features various symbol such as sword, dagger, and symbol with pellets.

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