|Raja Raja Horse Man Coin|
Obv: King sitting on galloping horse facing right.
Rev: Sitting King besides the letter “ Ra” means Raja Raja
Weight: 13 grams
The above shown coin is with the author’s collection. The above coin has been listed out in
“Chozhar Kasugal”, a well illustrated book in Tamil published by well known Numismatist
Arumuga Seetharaman. Coin No.51 & 52 shown above has interpreted in his book as a coin
issued to highlight the horsemanship of Raja Raja I ( 984-1015 AD ). Biddulph C H and all other
numismatists attributed these horseman coins to Raja Raja I.
It is probable that these coins (Horseman coins) might have been issued to commemorate
some important political event. Raja Raja I issued all his commemorative coins other than the
regular coins, based on some important events only.
Coins with Fish Motiff – Victory over Pandyas
Coins with Padam ( Foot ) – Victory over Cheras
Coins with Varaha (Boar ) – Victory over Chalukyas
Coins with Conch – Victory over Srilanka
Thus this coin also might have some important reason to issue, it cannot be an Aswametha
type coin since Raja Raja I never performed Aswametha Yaga. It cannot be a case of issuing a
coin merely exhibiting horsemanship talent. Then what can be the other reason for issuance of
these coins? A perusal of literary evidence gives us the answer to this question.
Jayamkondar a famous Tamil Poet, in his work Kalingathuparani refers to an important event
in the political life of Raja Raja I. He defeated the Cheras at Uthagai and celebrated his birthday
Sathaya Thirunaal in occupied Chera land. Ka.Appadurai, a Tamil Writer, described in his
work Thennattu Porkalangal, when Raja Raja I heard a shocking news that his ambassador-
against all diplomatic etiquette-was illegally arrested and detained and imprisoned at Uthagai
Fort by the Chera King Bhaskara Ravi Varman, he rushed with his army on a rescue mission
lead the army on his horse back with a short period of twelve hours pass the eighteen thick
forest and attacked enemy’s fort. The Ambassador was rescued and released. The fort was
tottally destroyed. This fact is borne out by an inscription found at Thirukovalur. It was one of
the Military Feats to rush at that high speed. Destroyed Uthagai fort is now called Karkulam
near present day Nagercoil. (The distance between Thanjavur and Karkulam is around 400 KM
) After the destroy of Uthagai fort, Raja Raja I continues the military campaign. The famous
Tamil Poet Ottakoothar, in his work Moovar Ulaa, describes in details about Raja Raja’s military
exploits in Chera Nadu. Raja Raja I went ahead and defeated the Chera King at Kanthaloor
Salai. The victory in the battle of Kanthaloor Salai was crowning glory. Very first Royal title
(Meikeerthi ) reads as “Kanthaloor Salai Kalamarutharuli” In those days Kanthaloor Salai was
on the West Coast, an important Fort Town in Chera Nadu ( Now we are not in a position to
identify the place). The Chola king used both land force and Naval force to capture Kanthaloor
Salai. The simultaneous attack was effective and the fort town fell to Raja Raja Chola.
In my opinion, based on the above facts, this horseman coin might have been issued to
commemorate the storming and capture of the strong Uthagai Fort, first step to Kanthaloor
1. Chozhar Kasugal by Arumuga Seetharamn
2. Coins of the Cholas by Biddulph.C.H., NSI, Varnasi.
3. Kalingathu Parani by Pulyur Kesikan
4. Thennattu Porkalangal by Ka.Appadurai
5. Raja Raja Chola-A collection of Seminar Papers by Authors Guild of India Madras
Thanks Mr. M K Chandrasekhar for your valuable contribution on this article.