Is it a hairpin or a coin...

2017-05-03 Wed

Standing by the seashores of Mumbai at evenings in front of the most calming, serene and vast the Arabian Sea makes you wonder what adventures lay ahead of it. Even our ancestors had the same curiosity that eventually led to sea explorations, maritime trade, and development of major ports of the Western and Eastern shores of Indian Peninsula.

Today we are going to discuss the maritime trade of the Sultanate of Bijapur through its fascinating and remarkable coin - the ‘Silver Larin’. This is a ‘Hairpin’ shaped coin which was issued by Rajapur mint during the reign of Ali Adil Shah of Bijapur.

The obverse of this coin depicts Zarb lari Rajapuri and reverse of the coin depict Sultan Ali Adil Shah. This port of Rajapur was a famous port in Ratnagiri situated on the Konkan strip. In 1998 near this strip a coin hoard was found which consisted larins from Persian Gulf and Bijapur. This hoard contained about half a dozen of rare larin coins with an undecipherable script and singularly unique specimens with the mint Rajapur.

These coins were used for maritime trade during medieval India which proved to be vital for the sea-pirate attacks. The discovery of this hoard of larin proved important for historians as well as numismatists as it proved that the town of Rajapur was under the control of Bijapur during the reign of Ali Adil Shah II.

Some interesting facts:

• There are only two other known specimens of this silver larin.
• Rajapur literally means the ‘Town of a King’.
• The Sultanate of Bijapur was one of the five splinter states of Bahamani Sultanate.
• Emperor Aurangzeb captured Rajapur in the fifth decade of his reign.

To know more about maritime history of ancient India and Chola empire .