Coinage of Arcot Nawabs

06 Mar 2018  Tue

The Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb appointed a Nawab as the governor for the provinces of north and south Arcot in Tamil Nadu. Thirteen years after Aurangzeb’s death, the Nawab claimed to be an independent ruler and founded the dynasty of the Nawab of Arcot.

¬¬Nawabs of the Arcot ruled the Carnatic region of the South India between1690 to 1801 CE. The Carnatic region was a dependency of Hyderabad Deccan and was under the legal purview of the Nizam of Hyderabad until their demise.

The Nawabs issued many coins in copper and a few in gold and silver. The earliest coins were issued in the name of the Mughal emperor. Later, they issued coins in their own name.

Most of the coins bear inscriptions in Persian while a few are in Tamil. Various symbols and motifs such as the flower, horse, elephant, fish, and geometric designs have been featured. Although the Arcot Nawabs were Muslims, they often portrayed Hindu deities and symbols on their coins.

Depicted here is the gold ‘Three Swami’ Pagoda of Arcot, with letter Alif engraved on a granular background on the reverse and the obverse depicts the three quarter length figure of Venkateshwara standing to face, flanked by his two consorts, Sridevi and Bhudevi.

Image Courtesy: Classical Numismatic Gallery