Ancient Indian coins provide us so many valuable information for reconstructing history. The matter of a coin is directly related to economics but it gives a brief account about issuer name, state or institution and through a new light on contemporary language, script, art, religion, administration, society and metallurgy etc. The main subject of this paper is to discuss the ancient Indian coins and that how it throw a new light on early temple architecture.
From the earliest time religion is being the main part of every Indian life. In Harappan civilization we find so many sculptures like Pashupatinath, meditated man and mother goddess but we have not found any evidence of temple from harappan site. In vedic literature we got a lot of evidence about sculpture of vedic god like Indra, Mitra, Varuna etc. At that time man worshiped these gods by hymn (stuti or mantra ). There was no concept of temple. For the first time description about temple is found in Shathpath Brahmana1. On the ground of archaeological evidences generally it is accepted that the making of temple is started in Kushana or in later period. In this context coins of Panchala and some of Tribal like Puru, Trigart and Audumbar are very useful. Study of their coins threw a new light on early forms of Indian temple during second century B.C. and later period. First time parmeshwarilal Gupta point out the importance of coins as a source of temple architecture2. After seeing that architectural form of temple on their coins we find a systematic development . Mostly we can see early form of temple on coins of Panchala. Panchala region is very famous for archaeological remains and Ramnagar (ancient Ahichhatra) was its capital. There we find a numerous series of coins with mitra, gupta, pala and sena ending name. J. Allan published some of them in their catalogue3. On Panchala coins we find very simple form of temple like a platform (jagati) having two pillars (stambh) on both sides. Between these two pillars god is depicted either in symbolic or in anthropomorphic form. Coins of Suryamitra, Vishnumitra, Agnimitra, Indramitra, Dhruvmitra represent early form of temple. These form of temple4 are shown on coins of Panchala as -
Cite this article:
Sushil Kumar Singh. Early Temple Architecture – A Numismatic Approach. Research J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 5(1): January-March, 2014, 44-46.