A look at how Indian Medieval Coins evolved

In 712 AD, the Arabs conquered Sindh and ruled it as a province of the Caliphate. But during the 9th century AD, provincial governors established independent rule and struck their own coins. However, the coins of medieval India underwent changes in the 12th century, with the emergence of Turkish Sultans of Delhi. The unit of account came to be consolidated and was referred to as the ‘tanka’ with the ‘jittals’ as the smaller value coins. The period was really good as far as expansion was concerned. Medieval Period Coins were struck in gold, silver and copper. The Khilji rulers were the ones who issued coins in abundance with grandiloquent titles.


The Indian Medieval Coins of the Tughlaqs were far more superior in terms of design and execution. Muhammad bin Tughlaq was very ambitious and took personal interest in the coinage. But, things didn’t work out as planned as the experiments proved to be a failure and cause of much misery. The first risk he took was to make his coinage reflect the gold/silver price ratio prevailing in the free market. The second blunder was inspired by Chinese paper currency which had spurred the development of trade and commerce. Between 1329 to 1332, Tughlaqs tried their best to bring a fiduciary system of coinage and issued tokens of brass and copper. These tokens bore the legends such as : ‘Sealed as a tanka of fifty ganis’ together with appeals such as ‘He who obeys the Sultan, obeys the Compassionate’. However, the experiment turned out to be a disaster. Although the Tughlaq conducted genuine experiments, they were somewhat forced on the populace.

The Medieval Period Coins evolved when the Vijayanagar Empire came into power. These Medieval Coins during the Vijayanagar reign were struck in gold and copper. The gold coins featured the image of the deity Tirupati i.e., Lord Venkatesvara represented either singly or with his two consorts.


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