India - 1200-1400 - Western Gangas

Gold Gajapati Pagoda

The Western Gangas Elephant ( Gajapati ) Pagoda circulated in Lanka as is evidenced by a hoard of 179 discovered in 1922 at Allaippiddi in the Jaffna district.

DenominationOne Pagoda
Diameter14. mm
Weight3.7 gms
Thickness mm
gajapati_pagoda_obverse gajapati_pagoda_reverse
Mitchiner #702

Obverse : Caparisoned elephant facing the right.
Reverse : An ornamental floral scroll.

The Gajapati pagodas and similar fanam coin were probably introduced about 1080 when Gangavadi emerged from Chola domination.
Mitchiner states Anonymous: circa 1080 - 1138 & perhaps later.
Friedberg's catalog of Gold Coins adopts AD 1200 - 1400.
The Gajapati was rare at the time of Thunberg's visit to Lanka in 1777.

Elliot in the description of his #119 says coins attributed to the Cheras, have been frequently reproduced in the south-west. The coins now available including the above coin is probably of more recent origin than the 14th century.

The Elephant was the crest of the dynasty called Gangas. Western Gangas with capital Talkad in 450 AD is modern Karnataka (Mysore). Friedberg is in error to list these Pagodas as from Orissa since that is eastern Ganga not those who minted these pagodas.

Text from
* Ceylon Coins and Currency By H. W. Codrington. Colombo 1924
  Page 172 Chapter XIII Miscellaneous: VI - Pagodas and Fanams.

The coin was scanned at 600dpi and the images are displayed at 500dpi.
The BU condition coins were purchased in December 1999 on ebay, from USA-CA dealer Clark Smith who gave a lifetime guarantee the coin is genuine.
I thank Dr Nupam for pointing out to me that these pagodas are not from Orissa.