Ancient coins shed light on links between Kerala, Kongu lands
PALAKKAD: Numismatic evidence on the close ties which existed between Kongu lands (Eastern Palakkad, Coimbatore, Salem and parts of Karnataka) and Kerala in the late medieval period onwards has been brought to light.
It was the Palakkad gap which linked Kerala with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and the unearthing of the coins establish the strong links through the centuries. The head of the department of History of Government Victoria college K Rajan who examined and identified the coin hoard assessed its importance and linked it to the late medieval period. It is not just Roman coins but also indigenous coins which throw much light on the commercial and cultural importance of Palakkad gap, he said.
He said: It was in 2013 that the present Chairman of the Sreeramathirtham temple in Thenari, 9 kilometres to the East of Palakkad town Gopalakrishnan cleaned the sacred well (Thirtha kulam) and recovered a coin hoard which consisted of a Dutch copper coin (known as Duit) and British coins of different denominations.
Rajan said that it was three months ago that he examined and identified its importance. He said the Dutch coin is noted for the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or Dutch East India Company) monogram topped by the Zeeland mint symbol on the obverse and the crown with lion on the reverse. The British coins cover the period starting from 1835 onwards.
He said the coins seem to have been thrown into the ‘thirtha kulam’ which is believed to be sprouting from the river Ganges. Rajan pointed out that numismatic evidence strongly supports the fact that from the middle of the 18th century, perhaps even before the conquest of Kerala by Hyder Ali, there could have been a close connection between Mysore and parts of the State bordering the Kongu lands. This is evident from the unearthing of several copper ‘kasu’ of the elephant type belonging to the period of Krishnaraja Wodeyar II (1734-1766). Coins bearing lion symbol have also been found. Apart from coins belonging to the Wodeyars of Mysore, several other coins belonging to the post-Tippu era have also been identified, he added.