Earlier during pre-independence period, Travancore was one of the most prosperous and powerful kingdoms of medieval India.
Travancore kings minted many beautiful coins in different metals such as gold, silver and copper. Since they are devotees of Lord Vishnu, the majority of the Travancore coins feature objects and symbols associated with Lord Vishnu.
Besides these, special gold coins were minted during the performance of the important ceremony known as ‘Tulabharam’ which the Travancore Maharajas celebrated once in their lifetime. On these occasions, the body of the king is weighed against an equal weight of gold coins, which are then distributed among the learned Brahmins. The gold, after purification, is coined in different sizes and weights.
Originally these coins were circular pieces of gold with letters “Sri Padmanabha” in Malayalam on the obverse, the reverse being blank. But those coined in later times contained the letters within a floral wreath while on the reverse was the Sankha or Conch-shell (the state emblem of Travancore) encircled by a wreath.
The above shown gold Pagoda is one of the examples of Tulabharam issue. This piece was sold for INR 1,40,000 by Todywalla Auctions.
Image Source: Toddywalla Auctions