In the 18th and 19th Century, Sikh temple tokens depicting religious motives and designs were widely issued in Punjab. These temple tokens were the creation of private silversmiths and goldsmiths, who struck them in various Sikh religious centres and towns, in India.
These Sikh temple tokens were sold to pilgrims by the silversmiths at the various Sikh Gurdwara Sahibs, to be used as offerings. The Gurdwara authorities would then collect these Sikh tokens and return them to the silver merchants in exchange for cash for the Gurdwara fund. These merchants made a small profit from these transactions. Some of these Sikh pilgrims used to take these tokens home to keep as souvenirs due to the religious depictions in their designs.
This is an extremely rare gold temple token on its obverse depicts Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, seated on a rug against a bolster (cylindrical cushion) under a tree. His wooden sandals (pehooae) in front and water pot (lota) on his side. His disciples, Bhai Mardana, seated playing the rebab (string musical instruments) and Bahi Bala, seated fanning Guru Nanak with respect with a fly whisk (chauri) which was usually made of peacock feathers.
The reverse has a legend “Mool Mantar” the first verse from the Sikh Holy Book (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji) in Gurmukhi script written by Guru Nanak himself.
Image Courtesy: Classical Numismatic Gallery