Thunderbolt on Indian coins

27 Jun 2018  Wed

Nature’s worship was the essence of the human traditions during the birth of civilizations, later this singularity of nature manifested in the forms of gods in India. These divine beings were created by the creative minds in pictorial form. The best example of these illustrations is on coins where various forces of nature are shown directly or indirectly, one such example is the Vajara or thunderbolt on coins.

The Vajra is the symbolic representation of the lightning, in Indian traditions and mythology, it is the weapon of Lord Indra, the king of gods. It is also connected to Zeus and Jupiter in the Hellenistic and Roman mythology.

On the silver coin of the Western Kshatrapas issued in the reign of King Nahapana, Thunderbolt is depicted in the centre of the above-shown second coin. This symbol is illustrated on the reverse side of the coin with an down arrow and Brahmi-Kharoshthi legend ‘RAJNO KSAHARATASA NAHAPANASA’ minted around 50 to 78 CE.

The first image is the copper coin, it also depicts thunderbolt but on the obverse side. This coin was issued by the Western Kashatrapas in the reign of king Bhumaka. The obverse side of the coin depicts thunderbolt with pellet and arrow with Kharoshthi legend ‘Kshaharatasa Kshatrapasa Bhumakasa / Chaharasada Chatrapasa Bhumakasa - Ksaharata Satrap Bhumika’. Even on the copper and lead coins of the king Nahapana, the thunderbolt is illustrated. The gold coins of the Kushana king Huvishka depict thunderbolt on the reverse side, Lord Shiva is holding it.

  Image Courtesy: Amit Udeshi

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