RajaRaja Chola : 985 - 1014

Chola Occupation gold Madais

Gold Madai of type known in Lanka as Kahavanu from the period of Chola occupation of Lanka by RajaRaja Chola (985-1014) of Thanjavur in TamilNadu.

MetalGold 0.47
AlloyCu/Ag = 0.21
Diameter20.2 mm
Thickness2.1 mm
Weight4.30 gms
Die Axis180°
rajaraja_chola_kahavanu_au_obverse rajaraja_chola_kahavanu_au_reverse
Codrington #104; Mitchiner #729; Biddulph #5
MetalGold 0.??
AlloyCu/Ag = 0.??
Diameter2?.? mm
Thickness2.? mm
Weight4.3? gms
Die Axis
krcj4tb6c_rajaraja_h01_au_obverse krcj4tb6c_rajaraja_h01_au_reverse
Codrington #104; Mitchiner #729; Biddulph #5
MetalGold 0.48
AlloyCu/Ag = 0.24
Diameter21.9 mm
Thickness2.1 mm
Weight4.28 gms
Die Axis0.°
krcj4tb6c_rajaraja_h02_au_obverse krcj4tb6c_rajaraja_h02_au_reverse
Codrington #104; Mitchiner #729; Biddulph #5
The design is that of the traditional Lanka type copper massa.
Obverse : Head usually represented by an oval with a projection for the chin ; the oval is countersunk inside leaving the eye standing out ; Two lines above chin for nose and mouth. Crown (makuta), a thick line behind which a triangle. Left arm extended, bent upwards at elbow and holding a jessamine flower. Legs short and straight ; dhoti stiff, line between legs ; the whole standing on a double lotus plant Co-joined in the center by a small circle and terminating on the left in a chank and on the right in a jessamine flower. To the left under arm hanging lamp and further to left a standing lamp, tall with four branches. To write four annulets each with a dot in center surmounted by ball (filled circle). All in bead circle
Reverse : Head and crown as on obverse. Seated king on left facing right with left arm extended, bent down over leg. Right arm raised upwards with elbow outwards, and holding in front of the face, a chank. Asana short with two cross lines. Legend in Nagari script to right in three lines Sri RajaRaja. All in bead circle.

There are two well-known varieties of RajaRaja gold coins closely resembling the Lanka Kahavanuva of type IIIC(1). The type shown above with four annulets surmounted by ball struck in or for use in Lanka where it is not uncommon. The type found only in mainland with a crescent on top the four annulets on the right of obverse. It may have been stuck for circulation in the conquered Pandyan provinces where the Sinhala gold coins were well known.

These coins are extensively discussed by Biddulph in his 1966 monogram on Coins of the Cholas. He goes into extensive discussions to establish that the Rajaraja Chola coins were the prototype to the "Standing and seated King" series associated with Lanka.

These RajaRaja Chola coins found in Lanka resemble the Kahavanuva. The similar coins found in in India, known as Madais, are of better workmanship but of inferior gold which degraded with time in purity, until in later issues were of merely gold plated silver.

Rajaraja Chola (985-1014) invaded Lanka in 990 AD and conquered the northern half. Ruining Anuradhapura he made Polonnaruwa his capital on the island;. Rajendra (1014-1044) Chola succeeded in extended Chola occupation over the whole island of Lanka in 1018. Lanka became regained independence from Chola occupation in 1070 under Vijayabahu I (1055-1110).

Text edited from

The kahavanu coins were scanned at 600 dpi and displayed at 300 dpi, Coin-1 was obtained in 2001 December from O. M. R. Sirisena an expert collector in Colombo, Lanka. The other coins from a large hoard purchased in 2013 January from a dealer in Colombo, Sri Lanka.